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Andre Pienaar denied bail in Senekal Magistrates Court

Andre Pienaar speaking to farmers outside court days before his arrest.

Maroela Media


A Free State businessman charged in connection with the chaos at the Senekal Magistrate's Court last week has been denied bail.

The 51-year-old Andre Pienaar appeared in court on Tuesday facing several charges related to the incident in which a police vehicle was overturned and set alight.

The drama at the court came on the same day that two suspects appeared in court in connection with the brutal murder of young farm manager, Brendin Horner.

It is alleged that a group of farmers forced their way into the court building demanding that two men accused of Horner's murder be handed over to them.

They allegedly pushed a female police officer aside and forced their way into the court building and assaulted the suspects who were in the holding cells.

The two suspects suffered injuries and had to be taken to the hospital.

The group also overturned a police vehicle and set it on fire.

A spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority in the Free State Phaladi Shuping says Pienaar is facing three charges, which are public violence, attempted murder, incitement and a possible fourth charge of terrorism, which is a provisional charge at this point, pending a decision by the NPA.

 

Judgment

In his 30-minute ruling, Magistrate Buti Mlangeni delivered his judgment and characterised the suspect as a possible threat to the ongoing investigations by the police.

He says this is evident because while in custody, Pienaar allegedly prepared people to give evidence that could exonerate him on the charges.

He says while Pienaar and other protestors stormed the court holding cells on Tuesday 6 October, these actions could have led to the escape of detainees who were in lawful custody.

Mlangeni adds that releasing Pienaar on bail could lead to shock or public outcry as this would be seen as endorsing lawlessness by the justice system. His case has been postponed to 20 November for further investigations while he remains in custody.

Mlangeni told Pienaar and his defence team that he was unable to say what is outstanding in the police investigation.

While delivering his judgment, the defence team of the accused, who appeared to be calm, shook their heads with what seemed to be disbelief with Mlangeni's judgment.

The matter was postponed to the 20th of November for further investigation.

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