Magistrate admits cocaine dealing is a growing problem at coastal towns

An alleged drug dealer, who was arrested in July in Swakopmund after he was allegedly found to be in possession of 15.3-kilogram cannabis, was granted bail to the tune of N$15 000. The state opposed bail when the bail matter was heard in the Swakopmund magistrates court.
Joseph Hoa-Khaob (37) was arrested on 7 July at his home in Swakopmund. The police carried out an extensive anti-drug operation during that time and arrested him for being in possession of 72 parcels of cannabis, valued at N$153 300. After spending more than three months in custody, the suspect brought a formal bail application – and succeeded.
During the bail application state prosecutor Dalon Quickfall opposed bail on two grounds: he argued it would not be in the best interest of the public as the offense is serious and that the state has a strong case against the accused. The state also called three witnesses, whilst the applicant testified on his own behalf.
In her judgement Magistrate Conchita Olivier said “the State is of the opinion that the dealing in drugs such as cocaine has become a real problem in Namibia, especially in coastal towns such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay.” “Also, due to the serious health hazards the public would always have an interest in such cases and that there is a call for the State to play its part and to keep persons in custody who are responsible for the distribution or the supplying of drugs”, she said.
During his own testimony Hoa-Khaob denied the charge of dealing in dependence producing drugs against him. According to his version he received the cannabis and held it on behalf of someone else in exchange for a payment of N$3 000.
“I do agree with the State that the sentiments and concerns of the public are one of the crucial grounds that the courts must look at and take that into account”, Olivier said. She continued: “the very same public members must also understand what the purpose and functions of bail are – if the accused are indeed guilty, he will be punished in accordance with the gravity of the offence but bail can’t be used as a form of pre-punishment.”
She came to the conclusion that the accused is a good candidate for bail with strict conditions attached to it. She therefore granted bail to the tune of N$15 000. The matter was thereafter postponed to 1 February 2018 for further police investigation.

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