Boeremag convicts seek u-turn

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iol news pic Boeremag Judge

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Judge Eben Jordaan reads his judgement during the Boeremag treason trial at the Pretoria High Court. File picture: Masi Losi

Pretoria - Boeremag members found guilty of high treason could apply for their convictions to be overturned, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

They claimed new evidence of a police conspiracy against them had surfaced.

Judge Eben Jordaan postponed the action by 20 Boeremag members to January 24 to give them time to seek the advice of a senior advocate.

Paul Kruger, who represents some of the accused, said a former policeman, Captain Deon Loots, had made statements about the alleged conspiracy which were published in a Sunday newspaper in October last year.

The Rapport published two articles which quoted Loots claiming police spies had planted evidence and enticed Boeremag members to commit crimes.

He said crime intelligence eavesdropped on conversations between the accused and their lawyers while they were in custody.

Initial indications were that they might bring an application in terms of Section 38 of the Constitution, which deals with the right to approach a court concerning the violation of fundamental rights.

He said he was only allowed to consult with Loots in the middle of December because he had to work through Loots' lawyer, who initially did not want to let him talk to Loots.

“I could not put a gun against the man's head. I was in his hands,” he said.

Senior prosecutor Paul Fick objected to the trial being postponed.

“The court has already made a finding and cannot review itself. The application will have to be made before another court.”

Defence advocate Bernard Bantjes said if there was substantial evidence, the men's conviction would have to be set aside by another court.

Jordaan started giving judgment in the nine-year trial in July last year. He convicted the last of the 20 accused - master bomb maker Kobus Pretorius - in August last year.

All 20 were convicted of high treason resulting from a far-right wing plot to overthrow the African National Congress-led government.

The Boeremag's bomb squad - Kobus Pretorius, his brothers Johan and Wilhelm, and Herman van Rooyen and Rudi Gouws Ä were also found guilty of attempting to murder former president Nelson Mandela.

In addition, they were convicted of murdering Claudia Mokone, who was killed when a piece of steel dislodged by a Boeremag bomb planted on a railway line was flung into her shack in Soweto in October 2002.

During his judgment, Jordaan rejected claims the State had taken part in planning a coup.

Although the accused claimed they were involved in a legitimate war against a “racist regime”, Jordaan said they could not have believed that civilian structures, such as a mosque, were legitimate targets. - Sapa


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