Reitz 4 to appeal

2010-09-17 07:42

Bloemfontein - A notice of appeal was filed in the Free State High Court by four former University of the Free State students known as the "Reitz Four" against their sentence.

On Thursday, the students' lawyer Christo Dippenaar said it could take several months before the case came before the court.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler were fined R20 000 each, or 12 months' in jail, in July after pleading guilty to a charge of crimen injuria.

Bloemfontein Chief Magistrate Mziwonke Hinxa sentenced them to a further six months' imprisonment. wholly suspended for five years, on certain conditions.

These conditions included any conviction of crimen injuria or a verdict in relation to unfair discrimination against anybody.

Not in proportion to crime committed

The students are appealing on the grounds that the sentence was not in proportion to the crime committed.

They submit that the facts on which their guilty plea was based were not racial, but on conduct that violated a person's dignity.

They also feel the suspended sentence given was not appropriate.

The former students were granted leave to appeal their sentence by the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court last month.

The charges relate to them humiliating five workers in an initiation-type ceremony in 2007, which they filmed while living at the university's now-closed Reitz men's residence.