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Tue Jan 27 12:20:43 CAT 2015

Kruger Park trespasser found with rhino horn, claims he was framed

Sapa | 04 June, 2013 08:21
African rhino horn. File picture.
Image by: Reuben Goldberg

A man sentenced to 11 years in jail for trespassing and carrying out a restricted activity in the Kruger National Park will appeal his sentence in the Nelspruit Regional Court.

Abel Mfana Mashabane, 26, from Phalaborwa, pleaded guilty to trespassing in a designated area after he and his friends were caught walking through the park in May.

He told the court he had been framed by game rangers and that he suspected they had planted a rhino horn in his bag.

During sentencing, Mashabane's lawyer told the court his client's hip was dislocated during his arrest, and that he could not be sent to prison.

"Prison will be worse for him as he has been on crutches since the day of arrest. He has acknowledged the seriousness of the offence he faces, and that rhinos get killed on daily basis," his lawyer said.

Magistrate Sheila Msibi did not find Mashabane guilty of possession of white rhino horn, because neither a carcass nor a killing site was located.

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