Scott-Crossley trial: 'What is going on here?'

The family of jailed murderer Mark Scott-Crossley say they have “substantial ammunition” to justify the granting of leave to appeal his conviction and life imprisonment for the killing of farm worker Nelson Chisale.

His brother, Shaun Scott-Crossley, said on Saturday the family have concerns about a number of procedural irregularities in court throughout the eight-month-long trial.

The final straw was the court’s decision not to disregard the evidence of a former journalist for The Star, Alameen Templeton, after receiving objections from lawyers for his employer.

The decision flew in the face of the court’s dismissal of an earlier objection by Scott-Crossley’s defence counsel, Johann Engelbrecht, when it was found that the evidence was relevant to the case as it pertained to public safety concerns at the Mokwalo White Lion Project in Hoedspruit.

“What on earth is actually going on here?” asked Shaun Scott-Crossley.

The Phalaborwa Circuit Court on Friday sentenced Scott-Crossley (38) to life imprisonment for masterminding the premeditated murder of Chisale (41), who was viciously beaten with pangas before being tossed alive into an enclosure of lions at Mokwalo on January 31 last year.

His co-accused, Simon Mathebula (44), who was found to have acted in concert with Scott-Crossley, was sentenced to 15 years in jail, of which three years were suspended for five years.

Throughout the case, Scott-Crossley had been brought to the court in manacles while his co-accused had been allowed to walk in freely, and he seemed to have been singled out in comments made during the trial by court officials, charged Shaun Scott-Crossley—but he would not elaborate, adding there was a lot the family would like to comment on, but would not for fear of reprisals.

If these things—glaringly unfair to a layman—had been allowed to take place, “what other iniquities are there that we as a family don’t know?” he asked.

They are frustrated.

“It makes us uneasy about the judicial process.”

Although the family had shown a united front at the court after sentence was passed on Friday and had not reacted, they “strongly object” to what had been going on in court.

“We strongly object to the way Mark has been treated: singled out ...
For the bulk of the trial, we as a family felt there was one person on trial [Mark] ... It just sticks in my throat,” said his brother. 

The family respect the decision of Judge George Maluleke, who heard the case with assessors Kate Choshi and Elpus Seemela.

“I have to, I have no choice,” said Shaun Scott-Crossley. “Whether I agree is a different story.”

An application for leave to appeal will be brought.

“We are by no means beaten. We are shocked by this thing,” he said.—Sapa

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