Alleging assault, midlands farmer has teenage girl arrested

2008-02-23 00:00

A 17-YEAR-OLD girl appeared in court yesterday on charges of assaulting a midlands farm owner.

This is the latest development in the ongoing feud between a farm dweller family, the Masikanes, and Collin de Gaspery, the owner of Bright Water farm in Rietvlei outside Howick.

The Masikanes have laid a counter charge of assault against De Gaspery. The family claims he was the one who assaulted grade nine pupil Dudu Masikane, and not the other way around as he claims.

It is not the first time that tensions have flared between the two parties leading to numerous charges.

De Gaspery claims the Masikanes have laid 13 charges against him during last year alone.

All of these, he says, were withdrawn by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions as no evidence could be found.

“They have accused me of many things before, including that I murdered their mother.”

De Gaspery was referring to the death of the elderly Irene Masikane, Dudu’s grandmother, who died in June 2006.

The Masikanes claimed that her death was caused by “De Gaspery running over her with his motorbike”.

She died a day after the alleged incident.

However, a postmortem, according to sources close to the case, revealed that Masikane’s death was due to natural causes.

De Gaspery was acquitted of murder.

The Masikanes still believe De Gaspery is guilty and claim that the justice system favours the land owner.

Meanwhile, De Gaspery claims he has been threatened by the police, who want him to have the charges against Dudu dropped.

The dispute emanates from a land dispute. The Masikanes claim entitlement to a piece of land on the farm, while De Gaspery claims that they have no right to be on his property. The matter is currently in the Land Court and De Gaspery is optimistic that he will obtain an eviction order against the Masikanes by May.

The Masikane family has in the meantime obtained a court interdict preventing De Gaspery from coming anywhere near them.

Dudu will make a second court appearance next month.

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