Waterkloof Four take battle to high court

The so-called Waterkloof Four turn to the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday to ask it to overturn the effective 12-year prison sentence they were given for beating a homeless man to death and assaulting another man.

Christoff Becker, Frikkie du Preez, Gert Van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt, whose actions were described by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that sentenced them as cruel and cowardly, will ask the high court to set aside both the guilty verdict of the lower court and the sentence.

They were sentenced in January last year for the crimes that they committed in 2001 when they were minors and still at school.

Seven years ago they assaulted an unknown man in Constantia Park, Pretoria, then kicked and punched to death a second man in a park in Moreleta while returning from a night club in Hatfield.

The man was never identified.

At the time Becker, Du Preez and Van Schalkwyk were 16-year-olds, and Tiedt 15. Except for Becker, who was a pupil at Garsfontein High School, the other three were pupils at Waterkloof High School, where Becker’s father is the principal.

Their advocate, Jaap Cilliers SC, will argue that the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the body found in park was that of the man the accused assaulted.

He will base this on the fact that lower court was told how one of the accused brutally kicked a man several times in the face. The impact of the kicks must have been such that the victim’s face should have been disfigured. The body of the man who was found did not have any injuries to his face.

The four also claim the man they assaulted was large, but the corpse found was that of a small-built man.

Regarding the assault charge, Cilliers would point to the fact that it was impossible for the accused to drive from Hatfield, assault a man in Constantia Park and then end up in Moreleta Park 14-minutes later.

The men, all in their early twenties now, are expected at court where a full bench would preside over their appeal.—Sapa

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