Judge in Brendin Horner trial slams state’s 'inconsistent' and 'improbable' case

One of the men’s lawyers said they had received further instructions from the accused to institute legal action against the state.

Demonstrators carry placards during a demonstration against farm attacks in Senekal, South Africa, on 16 October 2020, ahead of the appearance of suspects in the Senekal Magistrates Court for the murder case of 22-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Free State Judge President Cagney Musi has heavily scrutinised the state's case in the Brendin Horner murder trial, saying the testimony presented to him was riddled with inconsistencies, improbabilities and plain lies.

Musi was delivering judgement in the trial against Sekola Matleletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba in the high court sitting at the Bethlehem Magistrate's Court.

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The men were accused of killing the 21-year-old farm manager, stealing his bakkie and abandoning it on a highway.

They were also charged with a stock theft incident from March last year - seven months before Horner’s murder - but they have been cleared of all charges.

The state conceded that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the men for murder but had continued to seek a conviction for stock theft.

This after the men were found with two sheep that were thought to have been from a flock of 45 that was reported stolen.

Musi found that there was nothing linking them to the murder of Horner or the theft.

The defence was sure that this would be the outcome of the bail application when the pair’s DNA did not match that which was found on the scene of the murder.

Matlaletsa’s lawyer, Machini Motloung questioned why the state did not drop the charges at that stage.

“There are cell phone records which were analysed which removed accused number one and two from the scene. Surely, the state ought to have looked at this case under serious light.”

He said they have received further instructions from the accused to institute legal action against the state for wrongful arrest as well as malicious prosecution.”

Once judgment was delivered, a sigh of relief could be heard from the families of the accused, and they rushed out of court as soon as the sitting was adjourned.