'Modimolle monster' denied leave to appeal

By Drum Digital
13 September 2013

The High Court in Pretoria denied convicted killer Johan Kotze and his three co-accused leave to appeal on Friday.

Dismissing applications by Kotze, Andries Sithole, Pieta Mohlake and Sello Mphaka for leave to appeal against their convictions, Judge Bert Bam said there was no prospect of success on appeal.

Two months ago, Bam sentenced Kotze and Sithole to two life sentences each for murdering Kotze's 19-year-old stepson Conrad Bonette and raping Kotze's estranged wife Ina Bonette.

Mohlake and Mphaka were also sentenced to life imprisonment for gang raping Bonette.

Kotze was sentenced to an additional 25 years imprisonment and the other three to an extra 18 years imprisonment for kidnapping and seriously assaulting Bonette.

The attacks on Bonette and her son happened at Kotze's house in Modimolle on January 3, 2012.

Piet Greyling, for Kotze, on Friday attacked Bonette's evidence, saying that she had "exaggerated" what happened to her, had lied on the witness stand and was not a credible witness.

He said if her evidence fell away, Kotze's evidence became more credible, which cleared the way for another court accepting clinical psychologist Tertia Spangenberg's evidence.

He argued that the court should have accepted the evidence of Bonette's former husband and an article in the magazine Huisgenoot as proof that Bonette had not told the full truth to the court, as her initial versions differed from her evidence under oath.

He argued that Kotze's mental condition should have been taken into account as mitigation when it came to sentencing.

Jan van Rooyen, for Sithole, said the accused's convictions stood and fell on the evidence of Bonette, who was a single witness and whose evidence was not supported by DNA or even the medical evidence.

He said Sithole had not even known Conrad Bonette, had no motive to kill him and that another court might conclude that Sithole should not have been convicted of the murder.

Francois van As, for Mohlake and Mphaka, argued that "red lights" should have flickered about the reliability of Bonette's evidence, but Bam said he had never seen any red lights.

Van As said the fact that Bonette had begged his clients for help showed that she had not been afraid of them, which supported their version that they were not willing participants.

Van Rooyen and Van As both argued that there were factors which could lead another court to impose less sentences.

Bam said he was still convinced that the evidence against the accused was overwhelming and that there was no chance that another court would find that the accused's versions were reasonably true.

He was also still of the opinion that the sentences were fitting under the circumstances and found that there was no reasonable prospect that another court would interfere.

Bam described Kotze as "inherently evil" when he convicted him and said he and the others had shown no remorse for what they did.

Bonette testified that Kotze had sexually tortured her and cut off her nipples while the other three looked on before they took turns to rape her.

While she lay helplessly gagged and tied to a bed, she was forced to listen to her son begging Kotze for his life before he was shot to death.

Kotze claimed he could not remember and could not be held accountable for his actions that day.

His co-accused claimed Kotze had forced them at gunpoint to co-operate and that they had only pretended to rape Bonette because they could not get erections.


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