Judge has difficulties with accused's roles in Maties graduate's murder

2017-03-22 18:21
Carl Schoombie (Supplied)

Carl Schoombie (Supplied)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court on Wednesday grappled with the difficulty of two men choosing not to testify on their role in Stellenbosch student Carl Schoombie's death in 2015.

During closing arguments, Judge Robert Henney said it was common cause that both men were in Schoombie's presence at the time, but they had not explained how he ended up severely assaulted on the street.

"They don't take the court into their confidence to tell the court who did what," he said.

"The deceased was a perfectly healthy gentleman when he got out of that car. They leave, he lies there severely beaten and injured. What explanation is there for that?"

Common sense dictated that they must have done something for Schoombie to end up in that position.

He said that, even if the evidence of eyewitnesses was excluded for a moment, "on objective evidence, they cannot be found guilty of anything less than culpable homicide".

Not guilty plea

Brent Henry and Juane Jacobs are accused of beating Schoombie, after accusing him of starting trouble at the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Claremont, Cape Town, in November 2015.

Schoombie and three friends were on their way home from the nightclub in an Uber taxi when he was beaten in a cul-de-sac. He was admitted to hospital in a coma and died a few days later.

The men pleaded not guilty and chose not testify or call witnesses during their trial.

Johan Solomons for Henry, put it to State witnesses during cross-examination that his client never assaulted Schoombie.

Meanwhile, Jacobs' lawyer William Booth said during cross-examination that Jacobs had hit Schoombie with an open hand once and kicked him in the chest once.

During closing arguments on Wednesday, both lawyers tried to show there was no basis for the serious charges.

Common purpose argument

Solomons said the State had failed to prove Henry's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Booth said that, at most, Jacobs was guilty of assault and should be convicted accordingly.

Last week, State prosecutor Christopher Burke argued that the two had acted with common purpose.

"Bouncers at the club could not stop them. Fresh air and the opportunity outside the club to stop and go home could not stop them. Explanations and apologies by terrified kids throughout could not stop them," he said in his heads of argument.

"Carl, limp, helpless and at their complete mercy could not stop them. Pity could not stop them. Having to duck before police arrived to save their own skins is all that stopped them."

But Booth cast doubt on the assertion that they acted with common purpose and had direct intent to kill Schoombie.

Henney agreed that the evidence was not strong enough to suggest premeditation.

He postponed the matter for judgment on Friday.

Read more on:    carl schoombie  |  cape town  |  crime

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