Pretoria businessman's killers jailed for life

2015-04-09 21:59
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Pretoria - Two of the men who shot dead Pretoria businessman Dawie Maree during an attack on his home seven years ago were sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday.

North Gauteng High Court Judge Tshifiwa Maumela sentenced lawyer Marabe Talane, 39, and Rodney Katang Masemola, 35, to life imprisonment for the May 2008 murder of Maree at his house in Murrayfield. He described the attack as "cruel and inhuman".

Maree, 27, was fatally wounded during a struggle with an armed assailant in front of his wife Elana and his two young children. He died after being shot in the back.

The accused were sentenced to a further 18 years in jail for the murder of their accomplice, Seporo Martin Tshebesebe, and 18 more years for breaking into Maree's house and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. All sentences will run concurrently with his life sentence.

Masemola was shot in the stomach and Tshebesebe was shot dead during the attack.

Maumela said during his earlier judgment it was not clear from the evidence who had shot who, but it was clear that the shooting had been prompted by Masemola and Tshebesebe illegally entering the Maree property.

He rejected the men's claims that they had been framed for the murder by racist white policemen.

Masemola's evidence that he and Tshebesebe were standing under a tree when Maree stormed out and shot them, whereafter Elana emerged and fired a shot that killed her husband was also rejected.

The court said it was improbable that Maree's tiny wife could have carried the bodies of two men to the bedroom, where a neighbour found them shortly afterwards.

There was also no evidence of drag marks or blood outside the house.

The men's advocate, Paul Shapiro, throughout the trial insisted there was something "very odd" about the case and that the whole truth had not been revealed.

Passing sentence Maumela said the crimes had all the hallmarks of premeditation as the accused specifically travelled to the area.

They broke into Maree's home while he, his wife and children were sleeping. They were armed with an unlicensed firearm.

Trigger-happy racist

The accused claimed Maree was ruthless and vicious and implied he was a trigger-happy racist.

However, Maumela said no evidence was ever given to substantiate their allegations. It was clear that Maree was fast asleep and not a threat to anyone when the accused entered his house.

The accused had foreseen trouble when they entered the house and knew there would be shooting which could affect everyone involved, including Tshebesebe.

"Our law imputes death of co-perpetrators upon accused in circumstances where the accused would have foreseen that the death of one or more of them might ensue," Maumela said.

He said it was a moot question if the accused could be rehabilitated because they still refused to take responsibility for their actions and showed no contrition for what they did.

The accused had adopted an approach which sought to vilify Maree as trigger-happy, but this should have had the effect of deterring them from being anywhere near his house, especially at night and when the trespassing entailed breaking in, he said.

"When contrition is lacking, leniency towards an accused suggests that in situations of crime the law cares more about the interests of the accused than in the interest of the victims of crime and their relatives.

"There can be no denial that, right or wrong, that perception is also the reason why we see an increase of mobs taking the law into their own hands. There is therefore a need for courts to bring confidence upon the criminal law system through their approach towards punishment of heinous crimes.

"...The invasion of the privacy of private homes and other premises are rife and for ever on the increase. When all goes wrong, everyone thinks of running home. When home becomes the venue for one's attack, society loses the ability to figure out what to do under the circumstances.

"A disrespect of the privacy of private homes continues to victimise women, children and the vulnerable in this country... It is incumbent on this court to take into consideration the effect of serious crimes upon victims and their relatives," Maumela said.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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