Two men accused of assaulting a Middelburg man and placing him in a coffin claim he had threatened to kill them and their families.
Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson appeared in the High Court sitting at the Delmas Magistrate’s Court on Monday for the start of their trial.
They are facing charges of attempted murder‚ two counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm‚ kidnapping‚ intimidation‚ unlawful possession of a firearm and defeating the ends of justice.
The men have both pleaded not guilty on all charges.
In their plea explanations‚ read out to a packed court‚ the men claimed they had caught Victor Mlotshwa trespassing on a mealie farm belonging to their employers.
“Mlotshwa was in possession of suspected property‚ ie copper cables‚” they said.
The men also claimed Mlotshwa had threatened to kill them and their families.
“He told us he would burn the mealie crops and kill us and our wives and children‚” the men said.
The men said the incident took place on September 7 2016 and not on August 17‚ as the state had indicated to the court.
According to the state‚ Mlotshwa had been walking on a footpath when he was accosted by the men.
“Mlotshwa was accosted by accused 1 [Oosthuizen] who said he does not want a k*ff*r on his farm‚” the indictment reads.
The state alleges that the men handcuffed Mlotshwa and put him on the back of a bakkie.
They then assaulted and placed him in a coffin.
“They threatened to put a snake in the coffin and pour petrol on him.”
The incident was captured on a cellphone. The video went viral‚ causing widespread outrage.
The video was admitted as evidence by the court during the bail application of the two.
The duo is also accused of concealing evidence by allegedly burning the coffin in October.
Source: TMG Digital.