Hijack victim gets closure after verdict

2012-08-31 00:00

THE mother of Camperdown hijacking victim Trevor du Bois (26) yesterday welcomed the conviction of his two assailants on charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder.

Du Bois, who is working in Miami in the United States, was not able to return to South Africa to testify at the trial because of the terms of his work visa.

He was attacked after his bakkie broke down with a punctured tyre on the night of September 11 last year.

At the time he was working as a chef at the Tala Valley game reserve.

Du Bois’ assailants dragged him into a sugar cane plantation where they hit and kicked him and tried to strangle him with sugar cane leaves.

A passing ambulance found him lying injured at the roadside and took him to hospital.

He was hospitalised for five days.

Acting high court judge Kobus Booyens found Jacob Skhumbuzo Zumani (22) and Nkanyiso Shezi (25) guilty in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

Evidence was that they they were involved in an accident in Du Bois’ stolen bakkie. Police who attended the scene pulled Zumani out of the driver’s side of the overturned bakkie and found Du Bois’s identity document, passport and cellphone in his pants pocket.

A policeman phoned his father, Craig du Bois, to check who the owner of the vehicle was, and shortly thereafter it was discovered that Du Bois had been hijacked.

The court rejected the evidence of the two accused that they had been hitch-hiking in Umlaas Road when they were given a lift by the occupants of the stolen bakkie. The occupants fled after the accident, they said.

Booyens said the fact that Du Bois’s injuries were serious was evident from photographs taken of him shortly after the attack, especially a photograph of his neck injuries.

A doctor in the casualty department at St Anne’s Hospital testified that the injuries inflicted on Du Bois were potentially life-threatening.

The judge said the accused themselves had admitted under cross-examination that if you kick someone in the head you can kill him. “Strangulation is always life-threatening,” he added.

He found that Zumani and Shezi did not have a direct intention to kill Du Bois, but said it was clear that when they assaulted him they were reckless as to the consequences.

Du Bois’s mother, Jean, and brother Christopher, who attended the hearing, said they were happy that the attackers had been brought to jsutice. They also applauded the work done by the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Muzuvukile Mngadi, and state advocate Irene Neyt.

Jean du Bois said she was in daily telephone contact with Trevor in Miami and was keeping him informed of the progress of the case.

“He will be pleased to hear that there was a conviction,” she said.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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