13 March 2018

South Africa: Assault Case Involving Nine-Year-Old Transferred to Regional Court for Security Reasons

The case against two farmers who allegedly handcuffed a nine-year-old girl to a tree, before beating her and shooting at her, will now be transferred to the Regional Court in Pretoria for security reasons.

The State on Tuesday brought an application before the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court to have the case against Johannes Potgieter, 33, and Hendrick Dumas, 48, transferred to the Regional Court following protests last year after members of the community found out the two men had been released on bail.

Potgieter and Dumas have been charged with kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and the unlawful pointing of a firearm.

Magistrate David Shikhwambana explained to the victim's parents that the motion to transfer the matter was in light of what had happened during the last court appearance on November 14, 2017.

Chaos erupted when it emerged that Potgieter and Dumas had been released on bail.

Although the farmers were initially refused bail, they succeeded in an appeal to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on October 19.

Rubber bullets were fired and stun grenades were used to disperse the crowd after bottles and rocks were thrown.

"Be it as it may, the reality and practicality is that there were problems regarding security, and it's for that reason that the State brought an application to have the matter transferred to the Regional Court in Pretoria," said Shikhwambana on Tuesday.

He added that the court had been damaged and that some court personnel had been injured.

The father of the victim, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the minor, told News24 that his daughter was still tormented by what had happened and asked every day when the trial would be over.

"She is scared that they will come for her again because they are free," he said.

The matter has been transferred to Pretoria Regional Court where it will be heard on March 20.

Source: News24

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