Two plead guilty to possession of Franziska's phone

2017-02-23 20:00
Franziska Blöchliger. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

Franziska Blöchliger. (Supplied to Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Two men who pleaded guilty to possession of murdered teen Franziska Blöchliger’s stolen cellphone should not be sentenced for the charge in isolation, the Wynberg Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

Prosecutor Nicky Kolisi told the court that the manner in which the phone was obtained should be considered in the punishment imposed on Jerome Moses and Daniel Easter.

The two, along with Howard Oliver and Jonathan Jonas, originally faced charges of murder, rape and robbery for allegedly beating, raping, and strangling the 16-year-old in Tokai Forest on March 7.

Blöchliger was found naked and on her knees, with her neck twisted into an unnatural position. According to police, a bra and T-shirt had been used to strangle her. One of her shoelaces was tied around her neck. She was bleeding from the face and genitals.

Oliver, a married father of two, is the only accused still facing the rape and murder charges. His case was transferred to the Western Cape High Court.

A date for Jonas to go on trial for the charge of possession of the stolen cellphone is expected to be confirmed on Friday.

In an affidavit, Moses told the court that Oliver had approached him on the afternoon of March 7, and asked him to help him find a buyer. He said no one wanted the iPhone as it was password-protected. The two then approached Easter, asking R400 for the top-end cellphone.

Easter, in his affidavit, said he was only willing to pay R200 as it was all he had in his possession.

The cellphone was tracked to his Westlake house the next day and he was arrested. Both admitted to the court that they knew the iPhone was stolen.

Rehabilitation

Kolisi said the two had not asked where the phone was from, indicating that they simply didn’t care.

“The court can’t ignore how the phone was obtained,” she insisted.

Kevin Pietersen, for Moses, argued that the two had pleaded guilty to possession of the cellphone, and that the court should focus on this.

“The phone was obtained in a gruesome nature, yes, but my client was never at the scene,” he said.

Monique Carstens, for Easter, agreed, saying neither had known that someone had died. She said her client, who previously worked as a painter, was unable to find work due to his involvement in the case.

He is a father of two and his children’s mothers were now forced to care for them.

Easter, originally from the DRC, had been living in South Africa for the past 12 years.

Their lawyers asked the court to impose a fine and a suspended sentence. Kolisi insisted that both be imprisoned.

“You can’t be a visitor in someone’s house and then steal from them,” Kolisi said, referring to Easter.

Moses had a previous theft conviction, which was suspended for five years in 2012.

Pietersen said his client had attended an eight-week drug rehabilitation programme and was attending a community church, which was helping him find a job.

“There wouldn’t have been a rape or murder of someone like Franziska if there was nobody to buy [the stolen goods],” Kolisi countered.

The matter was postponed for sentencing on Friday.

Read more on:    franziska ­blöchliger  |  cape town  |  crime

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