Judge: This type of assault bedevils race relations in SA

2008-03-20 00:00

Assaults of the sort committed by a member of a former Eston-based farm protection unit, Shane Redgard (33), on a man arrested on suspicion of poaching in 2005 are the type that "bedevil" race relations in this country.

This was one of the comments made by high court Judge Herbert Msimang who heard evidence and legal argument in Ramsgate yesterday in mitigation and aggravation of the sentence he has to consider imposing on Redgard. Sentence is to be passed on April 10.

Redgard’s advocate, Chris Snyman, submitted in response to the Judge’s remark that there was no evidence that the assault in question was racially motivated and suggested that it would be irregular for the court to take it into account.

State advocate, Dorian Paver, however, said one could not ignore the "element of racism" that was present in the assault. Although there was no proof of a racial motive, the perception of the community also had to be taken into account, along with the nature of the assault. He said the victim had been humiliated and had been made to clean his blood and that of his hunting dogs from Redgard’s vehicle "as if he was somehow responsible" for the blood leaking on to the bakkie.

Paver has submitted that a sentence of five years’ imprisonment will be appropriate in the case, while the defence has urged the court to accept the recommendations of a social worker who found Redgard is a suitable candidate for a sentence of correctional supervision. Redgard has also offered to pay a fine of up to R7 000 and expressed willingness to perform community service.

Redgard was convicted by the court of having kicked the victim with booted feet on his head and body.

The victim of the assault, Ko Bonginkosi Dlamini, died on August 16, 2005, some weeks after the court found he was assaulted by Redgard at the base of the Eston farm protection unit, owned by Lance Moller. The assault took place on July 24, 2005.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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