Farmer granted leave to appeal life sentence
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West Coast farmer and convicted murderer Martin Visser has been granted leave to appeal his conviction and sentence in the Western Cape High Court sitting in Vredendal.
Despite a suicide attempt in the holding cells at the court before sentencing, he was on Wednesday sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of premeditated murder of farmworker Adam Pieterse, 33, News24 reported.
Prosecutor Christhenus van der Vijver opposed the application, saying he found it difficult to see how the court could come to another verdict. Judge Nathan Erasmus said the question was whether another court looking at the matter differently could come to another conclusion.
Pieterse had been beaten with a spade, dragged with a quad bike and buried behind Visser's father's vineyard in 2015.
His sand-covered body was unearthed three weeks later, when a seasonal labourer saw Visser behind the vineyard of his father's farm twice and contacted the police when she took a closer look and noticed flies buzzing around the disturbed earth. The cause of death could not be confirmed due to the advanced state of decomposition of the corpse.
He was also sentenced to three years for the grievous assault on Kleintjie Moses, who he had stabbed with a broken bottle neck in 2011, and six months for the common assault on Pieterse a month before the murder.
"I've imposed the harshest sentence a court can impose. Sentencing is not an easy matter. But there are prospects that another court could come to a different conclusion," the judge said.
He granted the application for leave to appeal before a full Bench. Judge Erasmus said he didn't believe there were grounds to release him on bail ahead of his appeal. Visser remains behind bars.