Two South African farmers, not the brightest, were convicted of “intent to murder” for pranking a trespasser, to teach him a lesson. Farmers are being killed by trespassers like Mr. Victor Mlotshwa, who turn home-invaders if they see an opportunity. The two farmers, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, wanted to teach him a lesson that would stay with him next time he entertained trespassing or thought of graduating to the next level of property invasion.
Judge Segopotje Mphahlele, also not the brightest, found the two guilty of attempted murder. Is there even a higher court in South Africa, manned with the kind of minds that might be able to explain to the country the imperative to overturn this silly judge’s verdict?
The “victim” was frightened but uninjured. Where is evidence of the intent to kill? Where’s mens rea?
If the trespasser was on the farmers’ property, how was this a kidnapping?
Dan Roodt provides comment:
It’s a travesty of justice. A simple prank out of frustration that the police offer no protection against trespassers, thieves and murderers becomes “attempted murder”. It was also trial by media and social media, because the cellphone video went viral. So it is mob justice, a cyber-mob but mob justice all the same. The black judge got carried away by all the cries of racism. He should have been more even-handed and fair, like a real judge. Every white South African should be worried after this: you could be the next accused and you will not receive a fair trial. After this, I am very worried about our courts.
There is an excellent section in Into The Cannibal’s Pot about the Courts. It dissects judgments rendered and shows how the law of the land is being ‘Indigenized’ (page 75).