Case against farmers for allegedly assaulting 9-year-old girl postponed

2018-07-16 13:03
Johannes Potgieter (left) and Hendrick Dumas. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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

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The case against two men who are accused of handcuffing a 9-year-old girl to a tree before beating her and firing shots at her has been postponed.

Appearing briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday morning, Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, heard that the state prosecutor on their case was not available and that the matter had to be postponed to August 1.

READ: Two farmers back in court after assault on girl, 9

During a previous court appearance in June, both accused objected to another postponement as the matter had been on the roll for almost a year.

The State told the court that more time was needed with the child as she was still too traumatised to give a formal statement.

The court also heard that a psychiatrist, appointed by the State would do a psychological evaluation of the victim.

Final postponement

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

This request was dismissed, but the matter was marked for a final postponement.

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

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 guineafowl.

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.

"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.

He added that when they were in a taxi going past the farm the girl hid under the seat.

Bail chaos

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 over 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.

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.

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