AfriForum, which paid for the appeal, says it is grateful that the duo’s convictions and sentences have been set aside.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has set aside the convictions and sentences of the two men convicted in the so-called Coligny sunflower murder.
The two, Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte, had approached the court to appeal their convictions and sentencing for the murder of teenager Matlhomola Mosho.
Doorewaard was sentenced to 18 years while Schutte was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Lobby group AfriForum, which funded the appeal costs to allow advocate Barry Roux to take on the case, said they were “grateful” that the two men had been found not guilty.
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said: “The fact of the matter is that AfriForum said from the beginning that the State’s only witness, Bonakele Pakisi, told lies and that is why we assisted the men. We believed in their innocence and justice was done today.”
The men had been behind bars for 13 months before being released on bail of R20,000 each.
They were found guilty of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing of a firearm.
The SCA dealt with the issue of whether the court that found them guilty, the North West High Court in Mahikeng, “had too readily accepted” Pakisi’s evidence “who was a single witness and who had contradicted himself on several occasions during the course of the investigation and the subsequent criminal trial”.
Though the judges in the appeal matter were split on its outcome, they all “agreed on the disquieting features of the case, notably the incompetence displayed by the police throughout their handling of the matter”.
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.