Theo Martins Jackson (right) and Willem Oosthuizen inside the court before they were sentenced. FILE PHOTO: ANA

In The News South Africa

Coffin accused duo denied bail to appeal

MIDDELBURG, December 8  – A lawyer representing Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, the two men who are serving jail sentences for assaulting farmworker Victor Mlotshwa and shoving him into a coffin, said on Thursday his clients may appeal against the decision of the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga to deny them bail.
“We have not yet had time to consult with our clients, but there is a possibility that we will launch an urgent application against the refusal to grant them bail,” attorney Marius Coertze said during an interview with African News Agency (ANA).
Jackson was sentenced to 14 years and Oosthuizen to 11 years imprisonment on October 27, for their roles in the assault. This was after they were found guilty on six of the seven charges including attempted murder, kidnapping and also the assault of another farmworker, Dalton Sithole.
Coertze said his clients filed for leave to appeal against their convictions and sentences in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) late last month because their sentences “were way over the top”.
They also applied to be released on bail pending the decision of the SCA, but Judge Sheila Mphahlele denied them bail in the Middelburg High Court sitting in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court earlier on Thursday.
Mphahlele said there were no reasonable prospects of success on their appeal.
Coertze said he was still hopeful that the SCA would grant his clients leave to appeal and set aside his clients’ convictions on all or some of the charges, and reduce their sentences. He said he was also worried that Jackson and Oosthuizen would spend Christmas in jail — away from their families.
“In my opinion, it was not a correct decision to deny them bail because there are several good reasons for them to be successful. For instance, the two complainants testified that they sustained multiple injuries but could not show them to the court. The judge [Mphahlele] also admitted that the State could not prove that they sustained multiple injuries. We will argue the matter in court next year.”
African News Agency (ANA)

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