Hotshot advocate prepares for battle in seal abuse case
An advocate with years of experience in environmental matters has thrown her hat in the ring to ensure the successful prosecution of two men who filmed themselves stabbing and beating a seal pup.
Advocate and former specialist environmental prosecutor Yvette Isaacs said she would be performing a watching brief role in the case to ensure the prosecution of the men.
The investigation was triggered after the SPCA laid charges against the two men allegedly involved in the horrific abuse of a Cape Fur seal pup.
Video footage which caused outrage on social media shows the seal trapped in a compartment on a boat's deck. As it tries to escape‚ it is stabbed and beaten.
Two men then grab the pup by the neck and throw it against the boat’s deck.
Before the video ends‚ the man holds the seal over the ledge of the boat before swinging it over his head and then smashing it back onto the deck of the boat.
The video emerged on Monday and a criminal case was opened on Tuesday evening.
On Thursday‚ officials at the Laaiplek police station‚ where the case is being investigated‚ said they had been inundated with phone calls regarding the attack.
Laaiplek is a small coastal town near Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape. The town borders Velddrif‚ where one of the suspects is believed to live.
Isaacs said: “A watching brief means that I will be liaising with detectives‚ prosecutors and other role-players to ensure everything is done according to the book. I would ultimately assist where needed and give input as the case unfolds. We hope that this matter will be treated in the serious light it is viewed.
“We are anticipating that more charges will be added and when that happens‚ all of us will sit down and establish the best way forward for a speedy and successful prosecution.”
Asked why she offered to assist the SPCA in pursuing the criminal charges‚ Isaacs said crimes against animals were just as serious as other crimes.
“We need people to realise that if they do such awful things there are consequence for their action‚” she added.
Isaacs was an environmental affairs senior legal advisor before being earmarked to assist the Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions in setting up an environmental prosecution unit.
“From there we established a team who would specialise in environmental crimes that included crimes against animals‚” she said.
Western Cape police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk on Thursday confirmed a case had been opened.
“They are not yet arrested and the investigation is ongoing. We are busy getting more affidavits but significant progress has been made already‚” he said.
Environmental Affairs spokesman Zolile Nqayi said a meeting was held on Thursday and it was decided that Sea Fisheries as well as his department would be adding addition charges. Nqayi also said the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) would possibly add additional charges.
SPCA chairwoman Colette Mang said that the suspects were identified with the help of “concerned citizens”.
“We‚ as were many of the public who saw the video on social media‚ were sickened at this blatant display of cruelty. On further investigation and with the help of concerned citizens we were able to identify the perpetrator‚” Mang said.
Charges have also been laid against the man who allegedly filmed the appalling scene and failed to intervene.
Police were unable to give a deadline as to when the investigation would be complete.