'Is life so cheap?' - Coligny murder prosecutor asks ahead of sentencing

2019-01-31 19:55
Farm workers Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte are seen in the North West High Court during the verdict on the murder Matlhomola Mosweu (16) in Coligny. 

Doorewaard and Schutte were found guilty of killing Matlhomola in April 2017, accusing him of stealing sunflower heads. (Tiro Ramatlhatse, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Farm workers Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte are seen in the North West High Court during the verdict on the murder Matlhomola Mosweu (16) in Coligny. Doorewaard and Schutte were found guilty of killing Matlhomola in April 2017, accusing him of stealing sunflower heads. (Tiro Ramatlhatse, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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The two men convicted of killing Coligny teen Matlhomola Moshoeu have failed to accept responsibility for their conduct and have shown no remorse, the North West High Court heard on Thursday. 

State advocate Rapula Molefe argued in aggravation of sentencing and said that Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte "lied" when they said Moshoeu jumped from their bakkie after they were on their way to the police station with him because he had stolen sunflower heads.  

"The killing of the deceased was brutal, savage, horrible and barbaric. The killing stands against our state of humanity and constitutional way of thinking," Molefe argued. 

"The failure by the accused to accept responsibility for their conduct clearly shows their lack of insight into the serious nature of the crimes they committed," he said.

Doorewaard and Schutte are expected to be sentenced on March 6.

The court gallery was packed to capacity with supporters from the ANC and EFF.

READ: OVERVIEW: Murder of #Coligny teen wasn't racially motivated - Doorewaard tells court

Sixteen-year-old Moshoeu died on April 20, 2017 after he was thrown from a moving vehicle.

But the men claimed that they caught him stealing sunflower heads at a farm and were on their way to the police station with him when he jumped from the moving vehicle.

Doorewaard and Schutte were found guilty of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft, and pointing a firearm in November 2018.

"The accused involved themselves in a 'cover-up' by placing the deceased's body where it was found," Molefe said, adding that the conduct of the accused led to "public violence, looting and a state of lawlessness" in Coligny. 

"Is life so cheap in the country? Is it acceptable for a helpless child to die for an R80 sunflower? Is taking of law into one's own hands tolerated in this country?" Molefe asked during his argument.

"The conduct of the accused cannot be tolerated. The killing of the deceased was barbaric and brutal. No attempts were made by the accused to send their condolences to the deceased's family up until their conviction. The accused failed to accept responsibility for their conduct. Where is remorse here?"

ALSO READ: 'It's too late to apologise' - mother of murdered Coligny teen

Meanwhile, arguing in mitigation of sentencing, Doorewaard's advocate, Cecile Zwiegelaar, said her client accepted that Moshoeu's death was a "tragic incident [and] that he "regrets" his death.

"I would ask the court to take that into account. [The] sentence must not overemphasise public interest," Zwiegelaar submitted.

Zwiegelaar said what happened to Moshoeu was a shocking and traumatic experience, adding that Doorewaard denied that the murder was racially motivated. 

She said Doorewaard still had difficulty coming to terms with what happened, saying it caused him stress and anxiety.

Advocate Pieter Smit, who represented Schutte, argued that his client still struggled to cope with the fact that Moshoeu had lost his life.

"Accused 2 (Schutte) regrets the loss of life," he said.

Read more on:    coligny  |  crime
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