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28s gang boss & co to appeal sentences

The state will oppose the appeals and also challenge some of the sentences handed down earlier this month.

Convicted gang boss George 'Geweld' Thomas has been sentenced to life in prison for murders and other crimes in the Western Cape High Court.Thomas will serve seven life sentences concurrently for the crimes he masterminded between 2006 and 2010. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A group of gangsters will attempt to have their convictions and sentences overturned.

The Western Cape High Court will today hear an application by gang boss, George 'Geweld' Thomas and 14 others, who want to appeal their convictions and punishment.

The men were handed hefty sentences after being found guilty for a rash of crimes ranging from murder to racketeering.

Thomas and six others are already serving life sentences in prisons across the country.

The rest are serving terms ranging from between 12 and 25 years.

Judge Chantel Fortuin handed down heavy sentences in the marathon gang trial against the 17 convicted gangsters.

She found they had acted willingly and deliberately in service of the 28s numbers gang.

Fifteen of the 17 convicts now want to contest their fate.

The defence claims Fortuin made fundamental errors in her verdict and sentencing.

The state will oppose the appeals and also challenge some of the sentences handed down earlier this month.

The court heard last month that Thomas orchestrated several crimes in a bid to rule the streets of Bishop Lavis from behind bars.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the case Thomas and his co-accused has been the Western Cape's most complex gang trial.

The men were tried under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The NPA said the successful conviction is a turning point in the fight against gangsterism in Cape Town.

But defence advocate Janos Mihalik said they will make every attempt to reverse the judgment.

Thomas's defence had tried to use his incarceration since 2008 as an alibi, but Judge Fortuin rejected the claim that he could not have ordered murders from his jail cell because evidence showed he had made 33,000 cellphone calls from behind bars.

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