Africa-Press – Namibia. ASKED if he attempted to kill a man by hitting a bottle over his head, or punching him on the head and face, Namibia’s Tokyo Olympics medal-hopeful amateur boxer Jonas Junias Jonas told Swakopmund magistrate Conshita Olivier, “I touched no one”.
Jonas, who is facing charges of attempted murder and the assault of a police officer, claimed his innocence during the start of his formal bail application at the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. In fact, according to him, he is the victim.Jonas’ version of what happened the night of 16 April in Mondesa was completely different to what the police reported.According to the police, a fight allegedly erupted between Jonas and another man, during which Jonas reportedly stabbed the man in the head, sending him to the ICU ward in Windhoek.The police further alleged that police officers confronted Jonas and others when they found them in the public after the national Covid-19 curfew of 22h00. A reaction by Jonas led to him allegedly assaulting one of the officers, leading to his arrest.According to Jonas though, when testifying during his bail hearing, he and a friend picked up a lady friend from work at 22h00 and stopped over at another friend’s house.While still in their car, a group of about eight people approached the vehicle. One man allegedly grabbed Jonas’ mobile phone from the dashboard through an open window.Jonas climbed out to confront them, but they threw alcohol on him and slapped him around.“I was too afraid to defend myself because all of them had bottles,” he told Olivier.According to him, that was when his friend allegedly hit one of the attackers over the head with a bottle, causing a fracture on his skull, which landed him in hospital. Although he is out of hospital, according to state prosecutor Beate Mwiya, he suffered some brain damage.“I hope he gets better soon,” Jonas responded, adding that it was not him who had caused the injuries.The friend allegedly fled after the incident before the police arrived, according to Jonas. His friend is apparently somewhere in the north now. “He fled because he knows he is guilty,” said Jonas.When the police arrived after his lady friend called them, Jonas told them what happened and, instead of going after the culprits and getting his phone back, they allegedly man-handled him because he treated them disrespectfully.“They asked me if they should shoot the other people. I asked them what type of question is that, and then they just grabbed me and pushed me to the ground,” he explained.After they apparently realised they could not handle him, he said they drove away. He followed them to the Mondesa police station to find out what they would do about the theft of his phone and why they assaulted him.Instead of getting answers, a police officer grabbed him, during which, in self-defence, he got hold of the officer’s uniform and tore it. This resulted in his arrest and charges.Jonas’ defence team, comprising attorney Hilya Neshuku and advocate Thomas Wylie, wanted to call two witnesses to support Jonas’ claims, but their request was blocked after state prosecutor Mwiya indicated that the two witnesses were, in fact, state witnesses. According to Mwiya, they gave police statements, which seemed to contradict Jonas’ version.In response to Mwiya’s objection, Olivier said calling state witnesses to support the accused’s claims would be “unheard of, unprocedural and irregular”. This forced the defence to find other witnesses during limited court time, resulting in the postponement of the hearing to next week.Jonas’ coach Albertus Tsamaseb told The Namibian that getting bail was crucial to Jonas’ representation of Namibia during the Tokyo Olympic Games end of July to August.“Of all the participants from Namibia, Jonas is the only hopeful to bring back gold. He needs at least one-and-a-half months’ training before he leaves on 24 July. He is not getting training while in custody,” Tsamaseb said.According to the defence team, although they are optimistic that Jonas will get bail, they are not aware of any special privilege granted to national athletes in criminal matters regarding national representation in the Olympics.