Family left bitter after murderer walks free – Police messed up….

Sharlien Tjambari

An alleged murderer walked a free man from the Swakopmund criminal court on Wednesday, after a serious flaw in the Police’s investigation prompted the presiding magistrate to withdraw the case. The murder victim’s family is furious and can only place their hope on an appeal against the ruling.

Adam Ruben (31), was accused to have fatally stabbed Desmond /Awareb at Swakopmund in November 2016 over an argument about a pair of shoes.
Ruben was granted bail of N$2 000 in his second court appearance after the murder. That was despite /Awareb’s family vehemently against the granting of bail for the alleged murder. Back then they argued Ruben did not deserve to be free whilst awaiting a criminal trial for murder.
The police officer who was assigned to investigate the murder was a certain sergeant Llewelyn Fredericks.
Weeks turned into months and at some point the family of the murder victim felt the case has been dragging for too long. The process for Ruben to get legal aid added to the delay, they explained.
The State’s case against Ruben soon started to fall apart. A crucial piece of evidence missing was a blood sample from the deceased’s body. Sergeant Fredericks apparently slipped up to obtain a blood sample from the deceased’s body at the outset of the investigation.
During the trial Fredericks went at great lengths to obtain the legal go-ahead for the exhumation of /Awareb’s body and to obtain a sample which with the assistance of forensic science could produce a blood sample result acceptable as court evidence.
The sample was indeed taken after exhumation, but on Monday the forensic result was not presented as evidence, prompting Magistrate Olivier to throw out the case.
In testifying Fredericks explained he only took one blood sample which was used to test for alcohol in the deceased’s body. That was on 3 August 2018, two years later after the accused died.
Thereafter, the forensics department allegedly requested for a direct sample from the deceased and that is how Fredericks took the next step of obtaining clearance to have /Awareb’s body exhumed and to re-move samples from the body for the purpose of obtaining a blood sample.
Fredericks alleges he tried his best to have the case postponed to allow for all processes to be finalised. However, Ruben’s legal representative, Albert Titus, countered and said the last time Fredericks requested for more time was in October last year and since nothing happened.
The State had to con-cede the court could not lose sight of the fact that the accused has the right to a speedy trial.
Titus requested the case be removed from the court roll. “If one day, the State can get something against the accused, they can always summons him again”, argued Titus.
Magistrate Olivier subsequently ordered the case be withdrawn and Ruben’s bail reimbursed. But, this was not over until Olivier had the last word on the investigating officer’s conduct: “If the investigating officer is not capable of investigating, he should have been removed from the case. It is clear that he is not doing his job”, Olivier said. Questioning why the officer was not removed from the investigation and also questioning whet-her negligence is at play here from the criminal investigation’s side.
“Seeing Ruben walk was very painful. We are deeply hurt as family. We want to see an audit on cases Fredericks investigated in his tenure as detective and how these cases ended in court”, family members said afterwards.
The murdered /Awareb’s father is heartbroken: “My child was murdered because the accused wanted my son’s shoes. When my son refused to give him the shoes, the accused stabbed him with a knife and in doing so killed my child”, said /Awareb bitterly.
He added though although the Police let them down, it does not mean the court system let them down. “We will try our best to push for an appeal”.

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