Two Paarl farmers accused of killing fruit seller released on bail

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Farmers Jan Basson (pictured) and John Woest accused of murdering a street hawker, have been released on bail. (Facebook)
Farmers Jan Basson (pictured) and John Woest accused of murdering a street hawker, have been released on bail. (Facebook)
  • Farmers John Woest and Jan Basson made a brief appearance in the Paarl Magistrate's Court on Monday accused of murdering a street hawker.
  • Both men are charged with the murder of Chatwell Rogers, a hawker, who was shot in the back while fleeing from the accused last week.
  • A petition was submitted to the court asking for Woest and Basson to be released on bail. 

Two Western Cape farmers accused of murdering a street hawker, Chatwell Rogers, have been released on R5 000 bail each. 

Rogers was shot on Sonstraal Bridge on the N1 highway.

Farmers John Woest and Jan Basson appeared in the Paarl Magistrate's Court on Monday following the shooting last week.

The pair were arrested for allegedly killing Rogers after suspecting him of stealing from their farms.

He was allegedly shot in the back while allegedly running away.

Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the case was postponed to January next year for further investigation and a regional court decision.

According to Ntabazalila a petition with 680 names was submitted in court asking for the accused to be released on bail. 

Uys van der Westhuijzen, chairperson of Agri Western Cape's Rural Safety Policy Committee confirmed that the petitions were drawn up by concerned residents. 

"I was however informed that their attorney stated that people from different ethnicities were part of this."

Woest and Basson have maintained that they were acting in self-defence.

READ | Two Paarl farmers accused of shooting fruit seller claim self-defence

Police at the time said the pair allegedly shot at illegal fruit sellers, who fled. Another shot was fired at the group, which struck 40-year-old Rogers, from Paarl East.

Woest and Basson handed themselves over to the authorities at the scene.

Lawyer William Booth, who is defending the two accused, denied that his clients' actions were premeditated, countering that they had been acting in self-defence following an altercation.

Booth added that farmworkers and community members were part of those who supported the release. 

"We have testimonials and affidavits from everyone. The farmers are concerned about the safety in the area," he said.

The State, however, is charging the pair with the Schedule Six offence of premeditated murder.

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