PRETORIA - The case against two farmers who allegedly beat up and shot at a nine-year-old girl after handcuffing her to a tree, will be transferred to the Regional Court in Pretoria for security reasons, the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.

Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, were charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and the unlawful pointing of a firearm. They were initially refused bail but successfully appealed against the decision in the North Gauteng High Court on October 19.

The application for the transfer of the case was made on Tuesday by the State before the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate’s Court.

Magistrate David Shikwambana told the unidentified parents of the victim that the application for the transfer was due to the chaos that took place outside the court on November 14. At the time, police were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of people who protested and threw stones after they learnt that the accused were granted bail.

“The reality and practicality is that there were problems regarding security. It is for that reason that the State brought an application to have the matter transferred to the Regional Court in Pretoria,” said Shikwambana. He said the court property was damaged and that some people working at the court were injured during the protest.

The matter will be heard in the Pretoria Regional Court on March 20. 

The two farmers allegedly assaulted the girl on September 9 last year after they found her and three other children on a farm. It is alleged the four girls were running along with their dogs and the dogs chased a guinea fowl onto the farm. The children followed it and were allegedly confronted by the farmers when they found them. The three other children managed to escape.

African News Agency/ANA