#CoffinAssault accused could intimidate witness if granted bail: prosecution

01 December 2016 - 16:36 By Siphe Macanda

Attempts of bribery and fears of intimidation are the main reason the state is opposing the bail application of the two men accused of assaulting a Middelburg man by placing him inside a coffin.

Image: Neo Goba

Willem Oosthuisen and Theo Martins Jackson applied for bail in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday‚ after initially abandoning their bail application last month.

The men placed Rethabile Victor Mlotshwa inside a coffin and the incident was filmed. The video went viral‚ leading to their eventual arrest.

On Thursday the court heard testimony from investigating officer‚ Detective Constable Dimakatso Bahula‚ who said the two should not be granted bail because they could intimidate witnesses.

Bahula testified that Mlotshwa had received a call offering him a bribe for dropping the charges against the two men.

"On 11 November the victim received a call from an 074 number but the caller never identified himself‚ and the caller instructed Victor that they should meet at the main gate of Komati power station. The caller said he must come alone. He refused."

The following day‚ the victim claimed that he received another call from a private number. The caller introduced himself as Thulasizwe. He said 'I've been asked by the accused to ask you to withdraw the case and they will pay you R10‚000‚" she told the court.

Bahula was also concerned about the safety of Oosthuisen and Jackson.

She said the case had caused a climate of fear and anger in the Blinkpan area‚ 30 kilometres from Middelburg where the incident had taken place.

Bahula said many residents were unhappy and angry.

"Yesterday a farmer that lives on Blinkpan opened a docket of intimidation. He alleges that he's been receiving smses saying that there is still going to be bloodshed in Blinkpan. One of the smses said: ‘It's going to be your wife that's going to be inside that coffin’‚" she said.

The case continues.

 – TMG Digital