'Coffin case' duo has sentences reduced by SCA

11:52 (GMT+2) Tue, 03 Dec 2019
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Two men who shoved a man into a coffin while threatening to kill him had their sentences reduced by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

In October 2017 Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen were sentenced to an effective 14 and 11 years in prison for assaulting a farmworker Victor Mlotshwa.

The case, which widely became known as the "coffin case" made international headlines.

Both Jackson and Oosthuizen sought leave to appeal their convictions and sentence to the trial court, which was denied.

They subsequently petitioned the SCA for leave to appeal their conviction and sentence, which was granted in February last year.

The SCA found that the trial court failed to apply the cautionary rule that applies to the evidence of a single witness.

"Given the many improbabilities and contradictions in the plaintiffs’ account, if the trial court had applied the necessary caution, it would not have accepted the plaintiffs’ unsatisfactory evidence in all material respects. The court found that the trial court should have determined the matter on the version of the accused."

The court held that the convictions of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm as a competent verdict to a charge of attempted murder and kidnapping (count 5) as well as Jackson’s convictions of defeating the ends of justice (count 7) should be confirmed. The convictions in respect of all the other offences should be set aside.

Read the full Judgment