'Vicious' Mathe found guilty of 64 charges

C-Max escapee Annanias Mathe is a hardened criminal whose behaviour was “vicious and abnormal”, said a judge in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Judge Geraldine Borchers said this moments after convicting Mathe on 64 of the 71 charges he faced which included rape, indecent assault, attempted murder, aggravated robbery and housebreaking.

“The accused before me strikes me as a hardened criminal. His behaviour has been vicious ... largely abnormal,” Borchers said.

She said it was prudent for the state to postpone the matter till next Wednesday to allow the defence time to decide if a psychologist’s report could be obtained in mitigation of sentencing.

This after Mathe’s lawyer, Advocate Liz Serrao, requested a week’s postponement to establish if she could bring a psychologist’s report.

Serrao said she was awaiting instructions from the Legal Aid Board in this regard.

“I’m interested in knowing if we have some psychological abnormality,” Borchers said on granting the postponement.

Among charges Borchers convicted the Mozambican national on were a charge relating to Mathe’s 2006 escape from Pretoria’s C-Max high-security prison as well as an attempt to do so two years later.

Mathe, who sat stone-faced in court, focusing his attention on the judge, had pleaded guilty to these two charges.

He was also found guilty on charges of aggravated robbery, as well as three counts of unlawfully possessing firearms and three others of unlawfully possessing ammunition.

Not guilty verdicts were pronounced on two of the seven rape charges, three indecent assaults and two charges of corruption.

Clad in a wrinkled off-white shirt, Mathe cast his face down as heavily armed police officers led him to the holding cells, trying every bit to evade the glaring television and newspaper cameras surrounding him.

In the public gallery, dozens of curious onlookers maintained silence, all in a bid not to miss judgement delivered against the man they got to know as the “houdini”.—Sapa