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Two brothers accused of hacking a man to death and trying to kill another with a Samurai sword and a butcher’s knife have been acquitted of murder but have had to take precautions to ensure their personal safety.
The matter against Bing Chen, 26, and Sheng Chen, 30, concluded last week when they were found innocent in the Worcester Regional Court.
They were initially charged with murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property related to a November 5, 2010, attack outside their business in Leipoldt Street, Worcester.
The State claimed that the men stabbed Lin Rong Jie to death and treid to kill Hui Wang. The charge of malicious damage to property was for damages to a BMW belonging to Bin Yang.
Now, more than three years after the event, the brothers were found not guilty of murder.
In their plea explanations they said the fatal blow came from Chen Ling Yuan who stabbed Jie with a butcher’s knife. Yuan was never found.
The brothers’ lawyer, Milton de la Harpe, said their safety was a concern because of links to the Mafia and the people involved. “They had to get security guys to come in and they had security when they appeared at court.”
It emerged that on the day of the murder, Jie and the two other Chinese had arrived in a BMW at the brother’s shop where Yuan worked.
The State claimed the brothers acted in concert with Yuan.
A witness said the brothers were involved in a fist fight with Jie outside the shop. Jie ran away and Yuan gave chase, butcher’s knife in hand. Jie fell and Yuan stabbed him. He died at the scene.
The witness conceded that the accused were present when Jie was “chopped with a butcher’s knife”.
Bing Chen had then emerged from the shop with a sword.
Prosecutor Andre Theron said the brothers had acted in common purpose and that Yuan was instructed by the brothers.
De la Harpe argued there was no evidence that the attack was pre-arranged or that either of the brothers were involved in the attack.
According to the judgment: “It might be accepted that the two accused took part in the fist fight, but that fact alone does not prove that they intended to make common cause with Yuan’s conduct to kill the deceased or that they manifested their sharing of the common purpose with Yuan.”
It was accepted that Bing had a sword but there was no indication that he planned to use it in a potential fight.
“Furthermore, there is no evidence that (Bing) used the sword as a weapon against the deceased.”
The court found that it was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the brothers had known that Jie would have been assaulted “in such a gruesome manner” or foreseen the possibility that the deceased would be killed by Yuan. - Cape Argus