ET trial closes for judgment

2012-04-19 11:35

The trial of two people accused of killing right-wing leader Eugene Terre’Blanche was postponed in the Ventersdorp High Court today.
Judge John Horn postponed the matter to May 22 for his judgment.

“It is probably going to be a long judgment. So prepare yourselves for a long judgment,” he briefed the State and the defence.

Chris Mahlangu and a teenager are charged with beating Terre’Blanche to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp in North West on April 3 2010.

Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mahlangu has claimed he acted in self-defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.

Horn wished the youth, who turns 18 on Sunday, a happy birthday.

Earlier today the teenager’s lawyer, Norman Arendse (SC), said in his closing argument that workers on Terre’Blanche’s farm were exploited. “Farmworkers like the accused are generally exploited.”

Arendse said Terre’Blanche was a well-known white supremacist who “had a well-documented history of taking the law into his own hands”.

He referred to Terre’Blanche’s being jailed for assaulting a petrol station attendant in 1993. Arendse added that police knew a minor worked on Terre’Blanche’s farm, but did nothing about it.

“The ‘dop system’ is alive and well.” He was referring to labourers being paid with alcohol. Terre’Blanche bought alcohol for the two accused on the day of his murder.

Arendse said since neither of the two could drive, the third charge of attempted robbery was unfounded.

Yesterday, Arendse told the court that the State had no evidence against the teenager. He said the State was relying on hearsay admissions made by Mahlangu about the youth’s role in the crime. “There is no other evidence against accused number two.”

Prosecutor George Baloyi told the court yesterday: “The State’s submission is that both accused should be found guilty as charged on all counts.”

Baloyi described the case as extraordinary because the two did not run away after the murder, instead walking a great distance to alert the police.

During his closing argument, Mahlangu’s lawyer Kgomotso Tlouane claimed that if the two were guilty they would not have gone to the trouble of calling the police, but would have fled.

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