Coffin assault victim's life never in danger, defence argues
Middelburg - There is no likelihood that coffin assault victim Victor Mlotshwa could have died when he was forced into a coffin by two men, the High Court sitting in the Middelburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.
"It is more likely to scare Mlotshwa... the accused never assaulted Mlotshwa, they never intended to assault (him)," Advocate Wayne Gibbs, for Willem Oosthuizen, told the court in his closing argument.
Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson are facing charges of kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, and possession of an illegal firearm.
Gibbs argued that the accused had to act when Mlotshwa allegedly threatened to burn their crops every year and murder their wives and children.
He said the accused would not have fetched a coffin if they had wanted to murder Mlotshwa.
"It just doesn't make sense to me," he said.
Meanwhile, Advocate Org Basson, for Theo Jackson, argued that when his client burnt the coffin that was used during the incident, he was only following instructions from his boss.
He said the accused had taken Mlotshwa to the secluded area only to threaten him, and not to kill him.
But Prosecutor Robert Molokoane said the accused should be found guilty on all charges.
He said if their intention was not to kill Mlotshwa, the men would have taken a video of the suspected stolen copper cable.
During his testimony, Jackson told the court that he was told to "get rid" of the coffin because it was causing trouble.
"Hannes [de Beers] said I should get rid of it [coffin] because I am making trouble with it."
"At the time when you burnt it, you knew that there was a body which had been put in the coffin?" Molokoane asked.
"Yes, that is correct," he replied at the time.
The coffin would have been used as crucial evidence in the case.
Jackson also said, although they had taken a video and photographs of Mlotshwa, they hadn't taken photographs of the suspected stolen copper cable that they allegedly found in Mlotshwa's possession.
They also did not take photographs of the knobkerrie that Mlotshwa said they had used to assault him. Mlotshwa alleged that the two men had tied him up with cable ties, assaulted him with clenched fists and a knobkerrie, and kicked him all over his body.
During his evidence-in-chief, led by his lawyer Org Basson, Jackson said he never considered what they did to Mlotshwa as wrong.
Mlotshwa had previously testified that Jackson had made use of the knobkerrie to assault him all over his body, but "mostly on the back".
He also said the two had used cable ties to restrain him.
Jackson said on September 7, 2016, when they apprehended Mlotshwa, that Oosthuizen had threatened to take him to the police, however, Mlotshwa had begged them not to take him to the police.
The men were granted R1 000 bail in July after reapplying.
Judge Segopotje Mphahlele is expected to deliver judgment on Friday.