Boeremag legal bid delays trial

2013-01-24 19:07
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Pretoria - A possible bid by some Boeremag members to overturn their convictions of high treason has delayed the trial again.

Judge Eben Jordaan on Thursday postponed the trial of the 20 Boeremag accused to Monday next week.

This was after a request by attorney Paul Kruger, who represents several of the accused, for more time, so that the accused could study statements and consult with him and their legal representatives.

He said some of the accused were contemplating an application in terms of Section 317 of the Criminal Procedures Act for a special entry on the court record of an irregularity.

Such an entry can be used on appeal for an application to have convictions set aside, if the appeal court finds that an irregularity had occurred which materially prejudiced the accused.

It will, however, not prevent the trial from proceeding and the accused will still have to present their case in mitigation of sentence.

Kruger said it was vitally important to find out which of the accused supported such an application.

He said an affidavit by former intelligence officer Captain Deon Loots and several other statements had already been prepared.

Kruger was asked to launch an investigation after the Sunday newspaper Rapport in October last year published two articles quoting statements by Loots that police spies had planted evidence and enticed Boeremag members to commit crimes.

Loots also alleged crime intelligence had eavesdropped on conversations between the Boeremag accused and their legal representatives while they were in custody.

Judge Jordaan in August last year finally concluded his judgment in the nine-year-long trial.

All 20 of the accused were found guilty of high treason resulting from a far-rightwing plot to violently overthrow the ANC.

The Boeremag's bomb squad, Kobus Pretorius, his brothers Johan and Wilhelm, Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws were in addition found guilty of attempting to murder former president Nelson Mandela with a home-made bomb.

They were also convicted of murdering Claudia Mokone in Soweto in 2002.

Mokone died when a piece of steel dislodged by a Boeremag bomb on a railway line landed on her shack.

Advocate Daan Mostert, who represents Kobus Pretorius, on Thursday told the court his client was ready to testify in mitigation of sentence and would take the stand when the trial resumed on Monday.

Kobus Pretorius issued a statement after his conviction, in which he distanced himself from his family's "extreme" political and religious ideals and asked forgiveness for the harm he had caused.

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