Boeremag doctor's bail bid dismissed

2013-11-06 19:05
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - There is no reasonable prospect that another court will change the convictions of the 20 Boeremag members, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria concluded on Wednesday.

Judge Eben Jordaan dismissed an application by former Mokopane medical doctor Lets Pretorius for bail pending an application for leave to appeal against his high treason conviction and 30-year prison sentence.

Pretorius's wife Minnie started crying and sat with her head between her hands for a long time after his bail application was dismissed.

Pretorius and his sons Johan, Kobus and Wilhelm were among the right-wingers sentenced to long prison terms last month for their plot to violently overthrow the ANC government.

The men were sentenced to between five and 48 years' imprisonment, with parts of their sentences suspended.

This resulted in five of them walking out of the court as free men, and the others having to serve jail terms of, in effect, between five and 25 years.

One of the men, who is in an old age home after suffering a stroke, was not sentenced.

Pretorius, who has to serve a prison term of in effect 20 years, earlier claimed he was unlikely to receive parole because he was white and a political prisoner, and would probably get out of jail only at the age of 87.

He told the court he had not expected such a long sentence and needed bail so he could draw up a will, make proper provision for the care of his wife and grandchildren, and earn money for his appeal.

He said he had health problems for which he needed operations, and wanted to support his wife, who had previously had breast cancer and suffered from depression.

Bail application

Pretorius, who was out on bail for nine years of the decade-long trial, maintained that he did not pose a risk to the public.

The State opposed his bail application, arguing that he was an escape risk because of the long prison term he faced.

Jordaan said it was logical that Pretorius's situation had changed since his release on bail.

He said he had to take into account the prospects of success on appeal, which in his view did not exist.

"In my view, there is no reasonable prospect that any other court would set aside the conviction... or impose any other sentence than long term imprisonment.

"The accused's conviction rested on the sum total of numerous witnesses and a finding that he was not a credible witness," Jordaan said.

Another troubling aspect was Pretorius's bail of R500 000, which was secured by the property of a company in which he no longer had any interest.

He would, therefore, lose nothing if he fled.

"I cannot see why he can't prepare his will while he's in jail. His health problems can be treated while he is in prison," Jordaan said.

He said Pretorius's wife would have to fend for herself, but that this was a natural result of the long term of imprisonment imposed on her husband.

Read more on:    boeremag

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