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28s gang case: Defence to appeal charges

The defence says the judge made fundamental errors when convicting 17 gang members.

Alleged leader of the 28s gang, George Thomas, and his 17 co-accused in court on 4 May 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The defence in the marathon gang trial involving George 'Geweld' Thomas has indicated it will appeal the convictions and sentences against its clients.

The defence believes judge Chantel Fortuin made fundamental errors when convicting 17 gangsters.

In a brief court appearance in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, the defence team told the court they wish to appeal their clients' convictions and sentences.

Last month, Fortuin ruled the 17 gangsters willing and deliberately participated in crimes in service of the 28s gang.

The men reportedly acted on orders from 28s gang boss Thomas, who used his high rank and influence in the gang to maintain control from prison. The gang boss and six others were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The defence maintains the judge failed to consider substantial and compelling circumstances such as time spent behind bars.

Prosecutor Willie Viljoen has indicated the state will oppose the appeals.

HEFTY SENTENCES FOR 28S GANG MEMBERS WELCOMED

The Justice Department said it hopes the hefty jail terms handed down to the gangsters would deter young people from turning to gangsterism.

During his testimony, Thomas said he was not the lethal gang boss as alleged by the prosecution.

Thomas claimed to no longer be an active member of the 28s gang and argued that he had not been in a position to order any murders while in jail.

He has also denied being a danger to society, adding he was often praised for his good behaviour in prison.

The judge, however, rejected the testimony as improbable.

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