Dippenaar without a lawyer
07 May 2021 | Crime
More than six years after an accident near Henties Bay that claimed six lives, the compensation suit against the driver Jandré Dippenaar could not begin at the High Court in Windhoek because the accused is without a lawyer.
Antonia Joschko is more than just frustrated. The 22-year-old German national lost her entire family more than six years ago while on vacation in Namibia. And there is still no end in sight for either the criminal or the civil matter.
“This uncertainty is the worst, but I am starting to have little understanding for these delays,” she said in an interview with NMH.
According to her German lawyer, Dr. Eberhard Seybold, the civil lawsuit before the High Court in Windhoek was set to commence on 3 May - and that “with many witnesses and experts” from Germany.
Before the trial, however, a status hearing took place in mid-March. Dippenaar appeared alone and without his attorney Petrie Theron, declaring before court that he could no longer pay his defense attorney and that his lawyer had withdrawn from the case. Theron was unavailable for comment on Thursday.
The case was thereafter adjourned to 30 March for a further status hearing and to give Dippenaar the opportunity to file a request for legal assistance. However, neither Dippenaar nor a lawyer appeared in court on 30 March. The case was ultimately postponed until next Tuesday (11 May) when Dippenaar will have to explain why he failed to appear in court.
The initial trial date for the civil lawsuit has since been postponed and there is no new date.
“It's extremely frustrating that he (Dippenaar) doesn't even appear in court anymore. It creates the impression that the whole thing is indifferent to him,” Joschko said. “We had prepared everything for the trial.”
Her lawyer Seybold sees Dippenaar’s failure to appear in court as a tactical maneuver.
“However, we won't let him get away with it,” he said.
Joschko filed a civil compensation claim against Dippenaar to the tune of almost N$11 million after her she lost her father Markus Joschko (48), her mother Stephanie Schermuck-Joschko (49) and her sister Alexandra Joschko (19) in the accident on 29 December 2014. Joschko was 16 years old at the time.
“Every time I travel to Namibia with mixed feelings. I now have several friends here, but certain things, like driving a car, are very difficult for me,” Joschko said. She is particularly frustrated that the civil trial is “dragging on unnecessarily” and is also disappointed that neither Dippenaar nor his family members have offered their condolences - even though they sat together in court several times.
“Condolences are not an admission of guilt, but not only was my entire family ripped away from me that day, my childhood and home were also taken from me. At the age of 16 my childhood was over,” she continued.
After the accident, Joschko grew up with her godmother in Germany. She is currently studying in a medical field. “I had to grow up quickly. Because of this case I suddenly had to deal with issues that a 22-year-old shouldn't have been confronted with,” she said.
Apart from the civil matter, Dippenaar has been criminally charged with six counts of murder, a count of reckless or negligent driving, a count of fraud as well as a count of driving without a valid driver's licence. The criminal matter is set to continue at the Regional Court in Swakopmund in October.
Dippenaar is accused of having caused the accident which claimed the lives of the three German nationals as well as the Namibians Dinah Pretorius (30) from Gobabis, and Charlene Schoombe (24) and Jan-Carel Horn (27) from Windhoek.
In the criminal matter Dippenaar is represented by Attorney Petrie Theron and Advocate Louis Botes.