Rightwing group tries to scupper Reitz trial

2010-07-30 10:43

The sentencing of the Reitz Four was briefly postponed in the Bloemfontein magistrates court this morning after a little-known group calling itself “Radical Honesty” made an eleventh hour attempt to be admitted as a friend of the court.
In its founding affidavit the group accuses media of “spitting on cultures”, attacks the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and calls the trial against the four men “a grave injustice”.

By law the magistrate has to consider all such applications on their merits.

But after a brief adjournment the magistrate decided to proceed with sentencing. The men were each fined R20 000 or one year’s imprisonment. The magistrate said the men had “lost their moral compass”.

Speaking exclusively to City Press this morning, one of the victims said she was relieved the trial had finally drawn to a close and that she could move on with her life.

Schalk van der Merwe, Johnny Roberts, R.C Malherbe and Danie Grobler were found guilty of crimen injuria on Wednesday following the leaking to the public of a mock initiation video showing the four students humiliating five university cleaners.

According to Radical Honesty, the trial of the four men is politically motivated and is tantamount to the oppression of white Afrikaners.

The organisation’s Lara Johnstone says the men are used as scapegoats in a race war.

A senior legal figure present in court dismissed the last ditch application as a publicity stunt by a fringe group wanting to draw attention to themselves.

Lawyers for the four defendants asked the magistrate if the men could pay the fine in instalments of R500, prompting angry murmurs from a packed public gallery.

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