One of the four men arrested on Sunday for allegedly breaking into the Katutura Magistrate’s Court assumed guilt for the incident when they made their court appearance yesterday.
The accused, Andrew David, Edison Witbooi and Raphael Batista face two counts of house break-in with intent to steal and a count of possession of stolen property respectively.
The fourth suspect could not make his court appearance as he is currently hospitalised in the Katutura Hospital. During court proceedings before magistrate Olivia van der Colff, David, who is well known by the police for similar crimes, and a regular in court, informed the court his co-accused had no hand in breaking into the courthouse over the weekend.
“Your honour, I just want to tell the court that accused three and four have nothing to do with this case. They are just buyers. That is all,” said David. Prosecutor Victoria Likius said the State was against the accused being released on bail as investigations are still at an early stage.
Furthermore, the accused face serious charges and it would not be in the interest of justice to release them on bail.
However, Witbooi and Batista indicated they would be approaching the court for a formal bail application at a later stage. The court postponed the case to 30 September for further police investigations. The group was arrested on Sunday, following a rigorous search from Friday when court officials discovered that unknown suspects entered the courtyard by climbing over the wall, damaged the glass door and gained access to the entire building. Suspects further broke into seven offices, where they stole three laptops of magistrates and that of a public prosecutor, as well as one computer monitor and CPU.
A knife and kettle were found abandoned in the same building corridors during investigations. CCTV footage shows how two unknown suspects with balaclavas entered the yard. Suspects used the chairs in the court corridors to climb on and damage the offices’ windows, where they gained entrance.
Confirming the incident, Namibian Police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi said the suspects broke into the court building on Friday and returned on Saturday. An operation was carried out, but the suspects could not be traced nor apprehended. However, in the early hours of Sunday morning, between 03h00 and 04h00, the police, who were still at the scene after a patrol of Windhoek’s streets, saw a suspect on the roof of the courthouse, attempting to flee.