Public plea by convicted rapist’s twin

A crowd-funding initiative focused on East London inhabitants has been launched to raise R500000 to appeal against former Border cricketer and convicted rapist Dion Taljard’s 18-year jail sentence.

The goal was to free him from his English prison, said his twin brother Mark Taljard, of East London.

He said that at the time of Taljard’s arrest, he was working as a waiter in a British pub.

Taljard, a former Border medium-fast bowler, was sentenced by the Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester after being convicted on 19 counts of rape on Wednesday.

The victim, Mark said, had been well-known to the family during her 20-year relationship with Dion.

Mark said they had received “great” support from Taljard’s friends both in South Africa and England.

Mark said his brother left East London for England 17 years ago.

On Wednesday, the court heard that most of the assaults happened after Taljard had played darts in the pub and was drunk.

But Mark yesterday claimed his brother would not harm a fly and accused the victim of “false” accusations out of jealousy.

“She was jealous to see him extremely happy.

“I received a message from my brother’s girlfriend giving me details of how my brother was to her.

“She said he was not capable of such an offence.”

Mark said the family had applied in writing on Wednesday to appeal the sentencing.

He would not say how much money had been raised so far.

Mark said the timing of the charges laid against his brother were questionable.

“At no stage during the 20 years did she report anything like that and now 20 years down the line she complains.”

According to testimony presented in court, Taljard violated the victim more than 150 times between 2002 and 2012 before she reported him to the police in February 2015.

Taljard played 25 first-class matches for Border from October 1993 to 1999.

His career highlights included taking 60 wickets at 30.93 runs a wicket, with two five-wicket hauls.

His career best was 6/49 against Pakistan at Buffalo Cricket Stadium in February 1998, which included a hat-trick. — malibongwed@

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