One of the 'coffin case' convicts out on parole, second to be released 'soon' - report

Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen are seen during their appearance at the High Court sitting at Middelburg Magistrate’s Court.
Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen are seen during their appearance at the High Court sitting at Middelburg Magistrate’s Court.
Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24

One of the men convicted in the so-called Mpumalanga "coffin case" has been released on parole after spending two-and-a-half years behind bars.

According to a Netwerk24 report, Theo Jackson was released on Wednesday.

In addition, William Oosthuizen, who was also convicted in the case, has been granted parole but has not yet been released, attorney Marius Coetzee told Netwerk24.

READ | 'Coffin case' pair's prison sentences cut to 5 years after SCA ruling

The pair was tried in the circuit court in Middelburg when a video surfaced of them forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin after accusing him of trespassing and theft, News24 reported. 

They threatened to burn Mlotshwa, who denied stealing anything, alive.

Mlotshwa said the two attacked him while hitchhiking.

Both denied the allegations at the time.

The pair was convicted of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, kidnapping, attempted murder, intimidation and defeating the ends of justice in 2016.

Oosthuizen was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment and Jackson to 14 years.

Conviction amended

But in December last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) amended their convictions and sentences, setting aside their attempted murder and intimidation convictions.

According to court papers dated December 2, the SCA found the pair guilty of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and kidnapping, but Jackson maintained his defeating the ends of justice conviction.

Both had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment on the assault charges and one year for kidnapping, while Jackson received one year for defeating the ends of justice for burning the coffin which was to be used as evidence.

In the ruling, Judge Yvonne Thokozile Mbata said: "I would order the short sentences to run concurrently with the five-year sentence. The result is that both appellants will be sentenced to an effective five years' imprisonment."

Singabakho Nxumalo, spokesperson of the Department of Correctional Services, confirmed to Netwerk24 that parole had been granted to both Jackson and Oosthuizen because they had served the minimum required sentences and completed the required rehabilitation programmes successfully. 

- Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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