Wife killer allowed to appeal conviction

2013-06-04 21:29
Cobus Prinsloo (Picture: Beeld)

Cobus Prinsloo (Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria - A Pretoria geologist, who hired his gardener to murder his ex-wife, was granted leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Judge Moses Mavundla sentenced Cobus Prinsloo, 66, to in effect 25 years' imprisonment last month, for the October 2009 murder of his ex-wife, air hostess Cordelia Prinsloo, 56.

He also refused Prinsloo bail pending the outcome of any appeal, which means he will have to apply to the Supreme Court of Appeal for bail.

Cordelia Prinsloo's body was found buried in a flower bed on the smallholding she shared with her ex-husband after their divorce.

Cobus Prinsloo's gardener Lucas Moloi was sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment in 2011 after he admitted to hacking the woman to death with a spade.

He said Prinsloo had offered him R50 000 and a house to commit the murder.

Prinsloo insisted Moloi was lying and denied having anything to do with his ex-wife's death.

Mavundla found that Prinsloo had been motivated by greed and bitterness towards his ex-wife, because he did not want to give her a fair share of the smallholding.

Granting Prinsloo leave to appeal, Mavundla asked if it was prudent for courts to spend hours deciding whether another court might come to a different conclusion.

"That time would have been better spent on deciding if the conviction and sentence was appropriate, especially where the judge was sitting alone," he said.

"We should also look at refining our legal procedures to be more effective. If a person has to serve almost his entire life in prison, why must we then say, before you're even allowed to test if your conviction and sentence was correct, you must first apply for leave to appeal?"

Petition

Mavundla said there could be those who did not even have the financial means to start a petition to the chief justice if leave to appeal was refused.

"The appellant [Prinsloo] is 66-years-old and plagued with cancer. He has obviously entered the departure lounge and it's just a matter of time before his flight takes off," he said.

"Why should we then use the test... [that] there's a reasonable prospect that another court would find that this court had erred?"

Mavundla said he was "only human" and might have made a mistake, especially where it came to the evaluation of Moloi's evidence.

There was a possibility that another court might come to a different conclusion, he said.

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