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‘State couldn't prove effects of gansterism in Bishop Lavis’

Is gangsterism a cause or product of poor socio economic circumstances?

FILE: An alleged leader of the 28s gang, George Thomas and his 16 they collectively face 166 charges ranging from murder to attempted murder. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The defence in the trial of 17 convicted gangsters says the state has failed to provide witnesses to attest to the effects of gangsters in Bishop Lavis.

The Western Cape High Court has heard some of the state's claims in aggravation of sentence amounts to untested generalisations.

The court ruled George 'Geweld' Thomas and his 16 henchmen deliberately and willingly carried out crimes in service of the 28s gang between 2008 and 2010.

Is gangsterism a cause or product of poor socio economic circumstances?

That is the question the defence put to the court, arguing their clients are merely victims of their society.

The 17 convicted gangsters leaned forward in the dock, nodding in approval as their legal representation laid into the state's argument in aggravation of sentence.

The defence argued the state has failed to provide witnesses from Bishop Lavis who could corroborate claims of how the community is fed up with violent criminals.

Earlier this month, Judge Chantel Fortuin found the men guilty on various charges ranging from murder to racketeering.

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