State calls for even harsher sentence after gang leader appeals

2015-06-24 14:25
George "Geweld" Thomas (File, Netwerk24)

George "Geweld" Thomas (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The State on Wednesday argued for leave to appeal “too lenient” sentences handed down to 28s gang leader George “Geweld” Thomas in the Western Cape High Court.

This is in response to an appeal launched by Thomas and 14 co-accused against their convictions and sentences.

Prosecutor Willie Viljoen argued that life sentences should have been imposed for two “most serious” racketeering charges, since the racketeering resulted in various murders being organised and committed by gang members.

The court had handed down 18 years and 10 years respectively for these charges.

Viljoen said that at the very least, these sentences should not run concurrently with other sentences.

'Shockingly inappropriate'

The State also argued for the sentences of his 10 conspiracy charges to be increased. It believed that a year in jail for each charge was “shockingly inappropriate”.

Lastly, it wanted the court, at the very least, to double a 10-year jail term for illegal possession of a firearm, since it was fitted with a silencer and telescope.

Thomas was recently handed life sentences for the murder of seven people, and various other sentences for 52 charges, including racketeering and attempted murder.

He is currently being held in a Gauteng prison.

Lawyers for the 15 men also spent Monday and the first part of Tuesday morning trying to convince the court that it had often relied on "unreliable" State witnesses in coming to its findings.

On Tuesday, Viljoen spent hours taking Western Cape High Court Judge Chantel Fortuin through evidence to support his argument.

Besides Thomas, the State wanted the sentences of Mogammat Stemmet, Kennith Lavita, Howard Jansen, Ashraf Ryklief en Ryaaz Dennis to be increased on certain charges.

The State argued that Stemmet and Lavita, like Thomas, should face a life sentence for racketeering, and that Jansen should receive a harsher sentence on an attempted murder charge as well as a life sentence for his role in the racketeering.

Viljoen called for the murder charges against Ryklief and Dennis, for which each was sentenced to 20 years, to be augmented to life and that their sentence on the racketeering charge also be increased to a maximum sentence.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gang violence  |  crime

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