Defence in coffin assault yet to confirm if they intend to appeal judge decision

It is still unclear if the duo will launch an appeal especially after they abandoned their initial bail application.

FILE: Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson see at the Middleburg Magistrates Court during their appearance on 16 November 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Defence lawyers for the two accused in the coffin assault case are yet to confirm if the men intend appealing Thursday’s decision by the Middelburg Magistrates Court to deny them bail.

The two Mpumalanga men, Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson, are accused of kidnapping, assaulting and forcing Rethabile Mlotshwa into a coffin before threatening to set it alight.

The magistrate Jongilizwe Dumehleli hearing the matter said he considered a number of factors when making the decision, including the accused’s safety and the nature of the crime.

During his judgment Dumehleli advised Oosthuizen and Jackson that they may challenge his decision in the high court should they feel dissatisfied.

“You’ve a right to appeal my decision and prove to the high court that the manner in which I’ve exercised my discretion is wrong.”

It is still unclear if the duo will launch an appeal especially after they abandoned their initial bail application last month.

The African National Congress (ANC) Nkangala regional chairperson Speedy Mashilo was among scores of people who gathered outside court to support Mlotshwa.

He says the best way to prevent this type of crime is to educate the next generation about unity and tolerance.

“Parents must come closer to this issues and teach their children.”

If the accused decide not to appeal Thursday’s judgment, they will appear again on 25 January when a trial date is expected to be set.

WATCH: Coffin assault accused denied bail

THANKFUL FOR SUPPORT

Mlotshwa told scores of ANC members outside the Middelburg Magistrates Court that he was grateful for their support thus far.

He and his mother held hands as Dumehleli handed down judgment in the bail application.

Dumehleli called the incident “shocking” and “racist” and ruled that it would not be in the interests of justice to release the suspects.

Scores of supporters chanted outside court as the matter was heard and Mlotshwa said he values their support.

“Thank you very much to everyone here. Thank you.”

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Monica Nyuswa said the State intends to press on until there is a conviction in this case.

“The nature and the seriousness of the offence, as well as the outcry from community members, has been reflected in the court’s decision.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)