Alleged farm assault victim, 9, still too traumatised to give formal statement, court hears

2018-06-04 12:16
Johannes Potgieter (left) and Hendrick Dumas. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Johannes Potgieter (left) and Hendrick Dumas. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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A 9-year-old girl who was allegedly handcuffed to a tree and beaten by two farmers who also shot at her is still too traumatised to give a formal statement, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court has heard.

The prosecutor asked for another postponement on Monday, saying that the victim in the case would undergo evaluation by a psychiatrist appointed by the State.

The State said it would need more time with the child and as a result has not completed its investigations. 

Both accused, Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, objected to another postponement. The matter has been on the court roll for almost a year. 

They asked that the matter be struck from the roll and that the State get its house in order before enrolling the matter again. 

Potgieter and Dumas have been charged with kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and the unlawful pointing of a firearm.

'She is scared they will come for her again'

It is alleged that the 9-year-old and three other children had been jogging with their dogs on September 9 last year near Bronkhorstspruit when their dogs ran onto a farm to chase guinea fowl. 

The children followed the dogs onto the farm, where they were allegedly accosted by Dumas and Potgieter. Three of the children managed to escape, leaving the 9-year-old behind.

The father of the victim, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the minor, previously told News24 that his daughter was still tormented by what had happened and asked every day when the trial would be over.

Read: Alleged farm assault victim, 9, living in fear, says father

"She is scared that they will come for her again because they are free," he said.

The girl's father said she shudders and shivers whenever she sees a white person and hides whenever she passes by the farm where the alleged incident took place.

"If she just sees a white person, she shivers. Their farm is just on the road," the man said, adding that when in a taxi going past the farm the girl hides under the seat, even when he is with her.

Violent protest over bail

He said he was infuriated by what happened, adding that there was no doubt in his mind that it was a racially motivated crime.

"We are very angry because this is racist. It's really racist. Can you imagine if it was a child of a white person? Nine years old, tied to a tree and put a gun here (signalling to his head), and release shots next to her feet?" he said.

The matter was originally heard in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court but was transferred to Pretoria for security concerns.

Although the farmers were initially refused bail, they succeeded in an appeal to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on October 19.

In November 2017, chaos erupted when it emerged that Potgieter and Dumas had been released on bail.

Read more: DEVELOPING: Violence breaks out after farmers accused of assaulting 9-year-old granted bail

Rubber bullets were fired and stun grenades were used to disperse the crowd after bottles and rocks were thrown. During the chaos, the court was damaged and several court staff members were injured.

The matter has been postponed to July 16. The postponement has been marked as the final one. 

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime  |  courts

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