Coffin accused: charges upgraded to attempted murder
Neo Goba | 2017-03-23 11:00:06.0
Theo Martins and Willem Oosthuizen, the two men who allegedly assaulted and forced Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin. File photo.
Image by: ALON SKUY
Two men accused of forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin will stand trial for attempted murder in June this year‚ a lawyer said on Thursday.
Two men accused of forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin will stand trial for attempted murder in June this year‚ the court heard on Thursday.
The two men allegedly threatened to pour petrol on Mlotshwa after shoving him into the coffin.
The case has drawn widespread outrage from the public and politicians alike‚ due to the heavy racial undertones.
The trial has been set down for 26 to 29 June this year.
The accused will now face charges of attempted murder‚ alternatively assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. They had previously faced charges of kidnapping and assault.
Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen on Thursday appeared briefly in the Middelburg Regional Court in Mpumalanga‚ where they were informed by Magistrate Lindiwe Vukeya that they would remain in custody until their next court appearance.
Jackson is represented by Marius Coertze and Oosthuizen is represent by Christo Geldenhuys.
The pair are accused of attacking Mlotshwa in Mpumalanga in August last year. A video of the incident went viral‚ sparking widespread outrage.
“We have been informed that attempted murder has been added by the state but we will plead not guilty for both the accused‚” said Coertze.
During their last appearance‚ Jackson and Oosthuizen told the court they committed the act because they merely wanted to teach Mlotshwa a lesson.
State prosecutor San Bhartu told TMG Digital that the charges had been changed due to new evidence.
“In terms of the nature of the evidence‚ we have decided that this scenario fits in under attempted murder because we can prove evidence of attempted murder. Therefore we have added that as a charge‚” she said after the court appearance.
The SACP’s Marumo Segwele said: “If it were up to us‚ we would’ve kept the duo behind bars throughout winter … so that they could be taught a lesson.”
The ANC Youth League was also in court to support the victim.
“We want to make it very clear that we have full confidence in our judicial systems and we hope and believe that this matter will be handled correctly‚” said Bheki Sithole‚ Provincial Executive Committee member of the ANCYL in Mpumalanga.
“We are sending a very strong message because we have seen certain activities of racism taking place in our society‚ like the woman at Spur. The judiciary and government itself need to take a stance around these issues because if these matters are not resolved in courts‚ we will not find peace‚” added Sithole.
His remarks come after footage of a white man threatening a black woman at a Spur restaurant in Johannesburg went viral this week.