Coffin case duo denied bail

Coffin Case duo, Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, were denied bail on Thursday, after bringing the application to the High Court in Middleburg pending the outcome of the application for leave to appeal.

This, after Jackson’s representative, Advocate Wayne Gibbs, argued that his client, Oosthuizen, was not a flight risk as he had adhered to his bail conditions before being sentenced.

Oosthuizen’s representative, Advocate Org Basson, similarly argued that the court’s conviction was heavy-handed, and that common assault was more fitting. They further argued that a different court (the Supreme Court of Appeal) would reach a different verdict, as their clients had not killed anyone.

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Demands for justice

Jackson and Oosthuizen were convicted of assault, attempted murder, kidnapping and intimidation in August, after forcing victim Victor Mlotshwa, into a coffin and threatening to pour petrol over him. The incident was filmed and went viral on social media, igniting an outcry and demands for justice. The pair were sentenced to 11 and 14 years respectively.

Judge Segopotje Mphahlele refused to grant the pair bail, saying that their conduct went against the spirit of the Constitution, and that she did not believe there was any prospect of success at the Supreme Court of Appeal, and that another court would not come to a different conclusion.

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Emotionally taxing ordeal

The courtroom was almost packed to capacity on Thursday, with Mlotshwa and his mother seated in the front row of the public court gallery. Mlotshwa said that seeing his attackers fighting for freedom in court had been an emotionally-taxing ordeal for him:

“I was shocked (on Wednesday) when I heard that they are appearing in court…Coming to court for the case has been affecting me emotionally.”

Mlotshwa’s mother also commented that she found the conduct of the two men to be “humiliating and disgusting”.

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