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Dippenaar’s pre-sentencing hearing postponed

2024-06-26  Eveline de Klerk

Dippenaar’s pre-sentencing hearing postponed

SWAKOPMUND – Convicted murderer Jandre Dippenaar’s lawyer fought hard in court yesterday to buy some time for his client.

The State and defence were expected to call witnesses to testify in mitigation or aggravation of his sentencing.

Dippenaar was found guilty on six murder charges, reckless or negligent driving, and driving without a valid driver’s licence in connection with the 2014 accident .

The accident claimed the lives of German tourists Alexandra Joschko (19), Markus Joschko (48) and Stephanie Joschko (49), and Namibians Dinah Pretorius (30), Charlene Schoombe (24) and JC Horn (27) when Dippenaar’s vehicle overtook three cars on a blind rise, leading to the collision, causing the vehicles to catch fire.

Pretorius, Schoombe and Horn were Dippenaar’s passengers. 

Markus, Stephanie and Alexandra Joschko were visiting the country.

Antonia Joschko, who also attended the proceedings, and Dippenaar survived the fatal accident.

Hours before the accident, Dippenaar overtook more than one vehicle on the road between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. 

He was stopped and warned by a traffic officer after a road user complained about his driving.

Dippenaar was expected to take the stand yesterday to plead for leniency. 

However, his lawyer, Patrick Theron, requested that the proceedings be postponed until he appoints new counsel as his leading lawyer, advocate Louis Botha, died in May.

“Considering that the State had years to conduct their investigations while the defence finalised theirs in a year, the accused has a constitutional right to appoint his own counsel, and has obtained one. The verdict was also only delivered on Thursday afternoon. Hence, it was not enough time for his new counsel to prepare for his sentencing proceedings,” Theron said.

He also indicated that Dippenaar is expected to obtain a psychologist for an evaluation that will be used in the pre-sentencing proceedings.


Delaying tactics

However, the State argued that the defence had enough time to prepare, and that proceedings could continue.

 Advocate Henry Muhongo said, Theron had been on the case since 2017. 

Hence, he cannot understand why the proceedings needed to be postponed.

“It is unrealistic to postpone the case, as it is. In fact, he proposed that the judgement be postponed to 20 June. He is not being honest. He did not take steps to secure senior counsel since the death of his previous counsel,” he said.

The defence is not being sincere, and is causing embarrassment while wasting time, as the witnesses of the case had to travel from Europe, he added.

“There is also no affidavit from advocate Nico Strydom indicating that he will be part of his legal team. The accused, as we speak, is being represented. In fact, he requested 20 June for pre-sentencing. 

These [are] delaying tactics, and his request should be dismissed,” he said.

However, magistrate Gaynor Paulton, after a short recess, stated she listened carefully to both arguments, and that both were valid.

“I had considered all arguments, and will postpone the matter until 20 August,” Paulton said.

Shortly before finalisation, Dippenaar’s defence indicated they also want to apply for bail. 

However, Paulton indicated she will not entertain a separate bail application, and that the defence must use the opportunity to do so.

However, the State opposed bail. “We just cancelled bail two days ago. Nothing has changed to review that order. His status is no longer innocent. He is convicted, and the State at this stage is opposing,” he said.

2024-06-26  Eveline de Klerk

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