Rhino farmer opposes reinstated pseudo-hunting charges
Vryburg game farmer Marnus Steyl plans to apply for a permanent stay of prosecution after being re-charged with 31 charges relating to pseudo-hunting of rhino on his farm.
Steyl, who had the charges against him withdrawn when he appeared alongside Thai rhino syndicate frontman, Chumlong Lemtongthai, in November last year, plans to approach the Pretoria High Court to prevent the National Director of Public Prosecutions from ever again trying to prosecute him on the same charges.
Steyl was recharged with 29 counts of fraud for allegedly applying for rhino hunting permits under false pretences at the Vryburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday. He was also charged with shooting two rhino himself.
Rhino horn are not allowed to be exported out of the country, except as hunting trophies.
Allegedly working together with Lemtongthai, Steyl had allegedly applied for hunting permits for Thai women – who were mainly recruited in gentlemen's’ clubs in Bedfordview, just East of Johannesburg.
The women would then visit his farm Aurora in Vryburg in the Free State, for the so-called pseudo-hunts.
Steyl originally faced charges that included 23 counts of fraud, five of illegally hunting white rhino, and several counts of money-laundering, but these were withdrawn.
His lawyer, Jaco Dempsey, said yesterday Steyl had made a deal with the National Prosecuting Authority not to prosecute him.
“The deal was that if Lemtongthai pleads guilty, they (the NPA) would withdraw the charges against all the other accused, which they did,” said Dempsey, saying they would approach the High Court next week.
Kholiswa Mdhluli, spokesman for the NPA said yesterday the decision to re-institute the charges was “based on the evidence already contained in the case docket”.