Vets, hunters among 11 in court for rhino poaching

2014-07-21 13:10

Eleven people, including veterinarians and professional hunters, appeared briefly in the High Court in Pretoria today on various charges relating to rhino poaching, illegal hunting and racketeering.

The accused in the case are game farmer Dawie Groenewald, his wife Sariette, two veterinarians, Karel Toet and Manie du Plessis, Toet’s wife, Marisa, Toet’s employee, Koos Pronk, three professional hunters, Tielman Erasmus, Gys du Preez and Nardus Rossouw, a helicopter pilot, Dewald Gouws, and a farmworker, Paul Matomela.

They are all implicated in the illegal trade and face 1 872 counts of racketeering. The group was allegedly involved in a ring that killed rhinos and traded in their horns.

Prosecutor Joanie Spies agreed, after consultation with the judge president and the defence, that the trial needed to be postponed pending the outcome of another matter regarding hunting legislation.

Spies said she also received volumes of documents in the form of objections by the defence. Some of the requests and objections were repetitive, she said.

“On July 4, I received a request and objections in respect of accused number one, totalling 739 pages, which I have replied to. A further 400-page document was mailed to me for accused number 8, and I have replied as well.

“Although they bear headings with the objections, they are not clear which charges they object to and on what basis.”

Judge Peter Mothle postponed the case to August 4 2015.

“This matter is postponed to the agreed date of August 4 next year, which is provisional, pending the completion of the civil application. Bail for all accused is extended until that date.”

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