Boeremag doc seeks new bail conditionsComment on this story
The Boeremag doctor convicted of high treason, Lets Pretorius, asked the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday to change his bail conditions.
His counsel Piet Pistorius argued that a bail condition added after Pretorius’ conviction was a form of harassment “in anticipation of cancelling bail”.
He said this condition which banned Pretorius from attending political meetings should be scrapped because it was vague.
It did not adequately describe what was meant by a political meeting and could be used at any time to arrest Pretorius.
Pretorius was politically active in extra-parliamentary affairs and it was well known that he prescribed to the idea of self-determination for the Boer nation.
He was involved in cultural activities and wanted to attend Afrikaner women’s day and Day of the Vow (Reconciliation Day) celebrations.
He often attended court cases involving farm murders in support of the victims' families, but had no control over the speeches others made, Pistorius said.
He argued the bail condition was unnecessary and unconstitutional.
“Anti-government sentiments cannot be forbidden. They are expressed every day. Think for example of the ANC Youth League’s undertaking to make the Western Cape ungovernable,” Pistorius argued.
“If he wants to take part in extra-parliamentary activities he cannot be stopped by bail conditions.”
Pistorius also applied for the variation of bail conditions stipulating that his client had to report to the police between 6am and 6pm daily and remain under house arrest at night.
Pistorius argued that these conditions should be relaxed because it interfered with Pretorius’ work as a doctor, who had to be available for emergencies 24 hours a day.
Prosecutor Dries van Rensburg said there had always been an agreement allowing Pretorius to make special arrangements with the investigating officer regarding his work.
He argued the ban on attending political meetings was for Pretorius’ own protection.
These meetings were “a breeding place for mischief” and the State did not want to have to charge him with high treason for a second time.
“The situation has changed. He has now been convicted of high treason. He can be thankful that the court granted him bail pending the conclusion of the case,” said Van Rensburg.
“The conviction has made it more important to monitor the accused. The house arrest is a fair and reasonable condition under the circumstances.”
It might be good for Pretorius to distance himself from any activities where affairs of state were discussed, Van Rensburg said.
Judge Eben Jordaan pointed out that criticising the government was not an act of high treason.
He postponed the application to give the State and defence time to try and reach an agreement about Pretorius' bail conditions. - Sapa