News24

Farmer, son in court for murder

2011-12-08 09:34

Pretoria - A farmer and his son will appear in the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday on charges of murder.

The bodies of Morris Morua, 36, and Zacharia Leso, 34, were found on Douw de Beer's game farm after they were shot for allegedly hunting illegally.

Counsel for the De Beers said on Wednesday that they would apply for a discharge on the murder and theft counts.

On Wednesday, Captain Nick Pitsoane, the investigating officer, testified that the only human remains found on the farm, near Boschkop, in North West, in April 2004 were 10 small bones.

This was not enough for a funeral, he said.

De Beer, 51, and his 19-year-old son Dylan have pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder and a charge of stealing Morua's cellphone.

De Beer snr has pleaded guilty to a charge of defeating the ends of justice by burning the bodies of the victims.

He said in a statement that he was shocked when he saw the bodies and decided to burn them to protect his son, who was at that stage still a minor, from being arrested.

Self-defence

De Beer jnr admitted to shooting the men, but said in a statement that he acted in self-defence because a group of illegal hunters had fired shots at him.

Pitsoane said he could find no trace of other people allegedly involved in the shoot-out.

He said a 9mm magazine found at the scene was traced back to Morua's registered 9mm pistol, but that the police could find no trace of the firearm, although they found ammunition in his safe.

They could also find no trace of Morua's cellphone, which was allegedly thrown into a dam.

Pitsoane said he was aware that hunting was allowed on tribal land near De Beer's farm, but that hunters first had to apply for permits.

Leso's nephew Poppy Leso testified that his uncle had told him he was going to look for cattle with Morua when he left home on his donkey cart that Saturday.

He later found the donkey cart outside a cattle camp, but his uncle never returned home.

Jacob Morua also testified that his uncle, who was in the army, had left in his camouflage uniform that day to search for cattle, but never returned.

Comments
  • Marion - 2011-12-08 09:59

    I think it is bad enough that the guys were shot but to then try to hide the crime by burning the bodies is not only criminal, it is cowardly. As the kid was a minor at the time he would probably not even have received a serious sentence if a first offender. Everyone knows that farmers feel very threatened (justifiably so) and it would probably also be a mitigating factor considering that at least one of the guys was armed and in camouflage uniform. Instead of helping his son this father just helped to dig their own graves.

      cosmos.ndebele - 2011-12-08 10:48

      U ar more on justfying this crime, strange humanity

      Marion - 2011-12-08 11:02

      @Cosmos... There were two crimes being committed here according to this. If you read my first sentence you will see that I do not justify the crime. But I do go on to say that the father made it worse through his actions. Am I only allowed to comment on one aspect of the story? viz the aspect you feel strongest about?

      cosmos.ndebele - 2011-12-08 11:40

      @Marion there is one crime committed here, the farmer & his son. The dead individuals were suspects, wearing camouflage is not in its self a wrong thing

      Marion - 2011-12-08 12:25

      @Cosmos... so trespassing on private property is not a crime?

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-08 14:34

      Pity the poachers can't become extinct like a certain species of black rhino. Not enough of them get shot unfortunately. Where do I sign up to get my Poachers Shooting licence.

      Never-apologize - 2011-12-08 14:50

      Which SA Legislation ferers to "trespassing" as a Crime?

  • joedoos - 2011-12-08 10:08

    Let us put them on the poaching problem instead.

  • Gees - 2011-12-08 10:16

    Farmers live in fear every day, by no means justifying the murder of presumably innocent people, but the farmers fear is real and can be understood

  • Trudy - 2011-12-08 10:20

    Why burn the bodies and not call the police? Seems like cold blooded murder to me

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-08 12:56

      Panic?

      Trudy - 2011-12-08 13:28

      Perhaps

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-12-08 10:44

    Let the court has the final verdict. The murders of either trespassers or farmers needs cautious approach from either side. The Department of Agriculture must create awareness on the role of farmers in our society and the criminal nature of poaching through campaigns. I know that some farmers do have hunting season and hunters simply have to follow certain procedures to hunt legally. Unless this is done, this misunderstanding will continue. Farmers will always find an excuse of killing trespassers who are mostly blacks in the name of poaching and blacks will always find an excuse to kill and rob farmers in the name of retaliation/self defence. I just hate this type of killings, I think they are setting us further adrift. But what I still don't understand is the mixed feeling associated with murder. It does not sound that weird for a black man to kill one of his own race and it still sounds normal for a white to kill one of his own irrespective of circumstances. Let murder happen transracial, the emotions would be wild and racial connotations would not be spared will. My fellow S. Africans, murder is muerder and death does not have colour.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-12-08 10:44

    Let the court has the final verdict. The murders of either trespassers or farmers needs cautious approach from either side. The Department of Agriculture must create awareness on the role of farmers in our society and the criminal nature of poaching through campaigns. I know that some farmers do have hunting season and hunters simply have to follow certain procedures to hunt legally. Unless this is done, this misunderstanding will continue. Farmers will always find an excuse of killing trespassers who are mostly blacks in the name of poaching and blacks will always find an excuse to kill and rob farmers in the name of retaliation/self defence. I just hate this type of killings, I think they are setting us further adrift. But what I still don't understand is the mixed feeling associated with murder. It does not sound that weird for a black man to kill one of his own race and it still sounds normal for a white to kill one of his own irrespective of circumstances. Let murder happen transracial, the emotions would be wild and racial connotations would not be spared will. My fellow S. Africans, murder is muerder and death does not have colour.

      edwin.netto - 2011-12-08 11:27

      Someone that makes a well thought out comment! Although I am not sure that killing an armed and threatening trespasser dressed in a camouflaged uniform can be considered murder! I believe that respect for each others property is also important and that trespassing should not occur. A farmer feels the same about someone walking over his property taking his produce be it livestock or vegitables as you will someone waking into your property and opening your fridge and taking your milk or rump steak!

      Trudy - 2011-12-08 11:42

      @ edwin.netto Taking another human beings life is murder. There might be mitigating circumstances, but it is still murder. However, I agree that Tshivhombela's is a sensible comment.

      Trudy - 2011-12-08 11:48

      @ edwin.netto. Taking another human being's life is murder. There might be mitigating circumstances, but it is still murder. However, I agree that Tshihombela's is sensible comment

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-08 14:40

      '..blacks will always find an excuse to kill and rob farmers in the name of retaliation/self defence.' I'm trying to work out what 'self defence' this is when murdery and robbery are the clear motivating factors in farm attacks.

  • Zion - 2011-12-08 11:03

    Notice that not much has been said about the possibility that the farmer may have fired and killed the two illegal hunters out of self defence. It would be fair to assume either the one or the other: Farmer and son shot to death or another farm murder.

      Randomhero6661 - 2011-12-08 13:42

      @Mandy its a tough call i say

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-08 14:42

      Mandy go on to the site showing the statistics and crime scene descriptions of farm murders over the last five years and then dry your eyes.

  • Marion - 2011-12-08 11:25

    A thought just came to me. Isn't it illegal for kids under age 14 even to handle a BB gun without an adult being present? So how does the father justify the fact that his kid (who was 12 at the time) had access to a rifle?

      Randomhero6661 - 2011-12-08 13:43

      Target practice from a young age

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-08 14:45

      A thought just came to me. Isn't it illegal for people under 18 to rob, rape and kill innocent men, women and children? Answer...does it really matter in the end as the crime has already been committed...talk about closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.

  • Blade - 2011-12-08 11:31

    With the terrible ongoing poaching problem in this country, shouldnt the father and son be employed by the Dept of Wildlife to hunt poachers? They seem to be good at it.

  • rdnaidoo - 2011-12-08 11:36

    Troughout history we see the samne things happening. Murder and self defence has a very thin line between them. Our justice system has a line as big as the equator, so, only the living know the truth. Let them testify on the day of Judgement!

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