Notorious poacher’s week-long court marathon

By: Niël Terblanché

Notorious poacher, Derick Brockerhoff, who has at least 11 illicit hunting cases pending against him in various courts across Namibia, has made his third appearance in a magistrate’s court in one week.
Last Friday, he appeared before a Windhoek Magistrate on a case that stems from his arrest in the mountains surrounding the Eros Neighbourhood of the capital city. That case was postponed until 30 July for further investigation.
On Tuesday, he made another appearance before the magistrate in Rehoboth on charges stemming from a case of poaching on a farm near Nauchas in the Khomashochland to the west of Windhoek.
Two days later, on Thursday, he appeared before a Swakopmund magistrate on charges of illicit hunting that were registered against him after he was caught with the carcasses of two zebras and an oryx that he hunted in the Namib-Naukluft National Park over a period of a week in 2023.
In each appearance over the past week, the individual presiding magistrates had no choice but to postpone the individual matters to a later date to give the individual investigating officers time to finalize their investigations in order to eventually set different trial dates in all the pending cases.
In the meantime, most of the farmers on whose land Brockerhoff perpetrated the crimes he stands accused of, with the aid of the Namibia Agricultural Union, have formed a concerned group to assist the detectives of the Namibian Police to finalize their investigations.
The combined effort of the farmers and the police is aimed at securing a conviction that might result in Brockerhoff spending at least some time in jail.
The group of farmers, along with the various officers involved in the plethora of pending cases, have also started an inquiry into the possibility of consolidating all the matters.
The farmers, along with the investigating officers, have raised concerns that Brockerhoff will succeed with a formal bail application in one of the many courts where he will have to appear in the foreseeable future and that all their hard work will be for nothing.
During their investigations into the outstanding illicit hunting cases, it was discovered that Brockerhoff also has at least four cases related to the possession of and dealing in illicit drugs pending against him.
Investigators also discovered that several arrest warrants against the accused person have not been executed. The warrants of arrest from various magistrates’ districts were issued after Brockerhoff failed to appear in the various courts after being set free on bail.
Because he is currently in the custody of the Namibian Police in Windhoek, the state is responsible for ferrying him from town to town to appear before the individual magistrates.
Besides covering the transport costs, the state is also responsible for covering the costs of investigating officers who are now forced to travel from one town in Namibia to the next to ensure that the accused person does indeed appear on time.
With regard to his latest appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, it was discovered that an administrative mishap was the cause of the confusion that reigned in court at the beginning of May.
Two dockets were created and only one of the dockets contained the charge sheet. The presiding magistrate had no choice then but to postpone the matter for three weeks to afford the Public Prosecutor some time to trace the missing charge sheet.
When the original docket was traced, it was discovered that he was indeed freed on bail of N$9,000 in August of 2023 and that the matter was progressively postponed until 20 August this year when he did not appear in court.
In each of the courts where he made an appearance over the past week, the various investigating officers along with the public prosecutors vehemently opposed bail.
It is, however, the accused person’s right to notify any of the courts where one of the cases is pending that he intends to bring a formal bail application, and if successful, the magistrate at the time will have no choice but to set him free from trial-awaiting custody.
Hence the drive by farmers and investigating officers to consolidate all the cases and to bump the consolidated matter up to a higher court such as the regional court or the high court, where they hope he will stand trial on all the cases at once.
It is not yet clear when the group of concerned farmers or the various investigating officers will file an application with the Prosecutor General’s office to consolidate all the outstanding cases against Brockerhoff.

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