The defence rests-coffin assault case

2017-08-11 18:16
Victor Mlotshwa. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Victor Mlotshwa. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Middelburg - Victor Mlotshwa's ordeal with two farm workers who forced him into coffin could not have lasted an hour, the High Court sitting in Middelburg heard on Friday. 

Andre Stephanus Maree from a vehicle tracking company testified that the data from the vehicles of the accused showed they were only at the scene of the alleged coffin assault for 15 minutes.

Maree, the last witness to testify, told the court about the trips that the vehicle took close to the Komati power station in Mpumalanga.

He said the vehicles were not at the secluded area on August 17, 2016 as Mlotshwa and the first complainant Delton Sithole had said. 

Maree said the tracking GPS shows the vehicle  was at the secluded area on September 7, 2016.

But Prosecutor Robert Molokoane challenged Maree's reports, saying they could have been easily altered. Mlotshwa had told police that the ordeal had lasted an hour.

Maree handed in a PDF file where he had  made an alteration, showing this could be done. 

He had earlier told the court that a PDF was better because it was tamper proof. 

"We cannot say really that this is the exact comparison," Molokoane said while disputing Maree's report. 

"You were sitting in the office and you were told about the points and you generated this points from your table."

Asked if he had been to the scene - Maree said no.

Threats

Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen are facing charges of kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and possession of an illegal firearm. 

They were granted R1 000 bail in July, after reapplying for bail. 

Jackson, who is the second accused, denied that he had assaulted Mlotshwa with clenched fists, a knobkerrie-like stick or kicked him all over his body. 

Both the accused said they did not see anything wrong with what they did to Mlotshwa by forcing him into a coffin and threatening to put a snake in it and set it alight. 

The pair testified that Mlotshwa had threatened to kill their wives and children. They allege Mlotshwa had also threatened to burn their mielie crops. 

Jackson said he believed Mlotshwa would carry out his threats because in the past, farmers would be threatened and their mielie fields would be burnt.

'You are talking nonsense'

Jackson had told the court that on the day of the incident they caught Mlotshwa with suspected stolen copper cables. 

However, soon after forcing him into the coffin - Jackson said he gave the cable to one of his employees. 

He said although they had taken a video and photograph of Mlotshwa, they did not take photos of the alleged stolen property. 

He also said he deleted the video because his wife had instructed him to do so after fearing that their children would see it. 

Jackson said he didn't think it was necessary to hand over the cable to the police after they had scared off Mlotshwa with the coffin. 

"What lesson do you think you taught Victor by scaring him?" his lawyer, Org Basson asked during re-examination.  

"So that he must not proceed with his threats and he should stop stealing," Jackson replied. 

Basson also asked if Jackson had assaulted Mlotshwa when he was heard telling Mlotshwa, who was lying in the coffin at time that, "This is the last time you are talking and you are talking nonsense. Either I hit you with that thing or I set you alight...." 

But Jackson denied assaulting him. 

The defence closed its case on Friday and the matter was postponed to August 21 for closing arguments.


Read more on:    victor mlotshwa  |  mbombela  |  crime  |  courts

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