Man who shot his son could still be jailed as NPA appeals decision to only caution him

The director of public prosecutions has been granted leave to appeal a sentence of a caution and discharge imposed by a magistrate on a man who shot dead his son by mistake.
The director of public prosecutions has been granted leave to appeal a sentence of a caution and discharge imposed by a magistrate on a man who shot dead his son by mistake.
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The director of public prosecutions in Pretoria has successfully applied for leave to appeal against the sentence of a caution and discharge imposed on a Vanderbijlpark man who shot dead his son in March this year.

Coert Johannes Kruger, 51, apparently mistook his son, Coert Johannes Kruger Junior, for a burglar and shot him dead at his mother’s house.

Kruger Junior was on the roof of his grandmother’s house when the incident happened.

Kruger explained that he reacted to an alarm activation at his mother's house and met a security guard from the security company which had called him.

After an investigation, Kruger and the security guard located a person on the roof and he immediately shot at him, only to realise later it was his own son.

Kruger pleaded guilty to the charge of murder. News24 reported in September that he was released on a warning and will serve no jail time.

The death of his son was punishment enough, said magistrate Robert Button.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said on Thursday the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in Pretoria viewed the sentence of caution and discharge imposed on Kruger as "shockingly inappropriate".

Mjonondwane said the DPP had successfully applied for leave to appeal the sentence.

She said the appeal on sentence would be enrolled and will be heard on a date still to be determined.

Mjonondwane said the NPA was of the view that Button committed a serious misdirection by not referring to the most recent sentence in June, where under similar circumstances a father was sentenced to 10 years, wholly suspended for five years.

She was referring to the matter of Emmanuel Sibusiso Tshabalala, who was sentenced by the Lenasia magistrate's court in June.

Tshabalala fell asleep in his vehicle while waiting for his son, who attended extra lessons at Fred Norman High School.

Tshabalala was awoken by his son’s knock on the window but mistakenly shot him, thinking that he was being robbed.

“The great disparity in the two sentences under similar circumstances, both in the Gauteng division, does not augur well for legal precedent,” Mjonondwane said.

She said the principle, which binds courts to follow legal precedents set by previous decisions, was sacrosanct.

Mjonondwane said this was the reason the NPA could not leave the matter unchallenged.


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