Govt told to remove Boeremag accused’s night-time leg irons

The North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, has ordered that four of the Boeremag treason-trial accused may no longer be held in leg irons overnight.

Judge Andre Louw granted the urgent court order on Monday following an application by the accused, Mike du Toit, Herman van Rooyen, Tom Vorster and Rudi Gouws.

He also ordered that correctional services must immediately return their laptop computers to them.

The four complained that they were sleep deprived and unable to concentrate on legal argument by their counsel in court or to give proper instructions because they were forced to sleep in leg irons with the lights on at night.

They also complained their laptops contained privileged instructions to their legal representatives.

They said correctional services had never given them any reasons for extending their period in isolation and shackles from seven to 30 days.

‘Draconian’ measures
Counsel for the four Piet Pistorius argued that the “draconian” measures were unnecessary, as the four were already being held in a high security section within the jail, where they were guarded 24 hours a day.

“It is inhumane treatment to force an inmate to sleep in shackles at night,” he said.

Correctional services opposed the application, saying the Correctional Services Act and regulations authorised them to restrain inmates, who tried to escape, in this manner.

Solly Sithole SC argued on behalf of correctional services that the four were at the top of the list of high-risk inmates and were not the only ones who were kept in isolation and shackles.

“It’s a question of branding of an inmate as a high-risk inmate,” he said.

Louw said he had to accept that the four said they could not sleep properly at night.

He said correctional services may have acted within the Act and regulations, but still had to justify the extension of the measures in terms of the Constitution, and had not given reasons for the extension.

It also did not give any reasons why the accused’s laptop computers should not be returned to them.

Louw ordered each party to pay its own costs.

Failed escape bid
The four, together with the elderly Vis Visagie, staged a failed escape bid during a tea break at the court last month, but were all recaptured shortly thereafter.

Visagie was rushed to hospital after collapsing at court the next day. He is still in hospital after undergoing heart surgery.

Du Toit was also absent from court on Monday as he was being treated for injuries apparently sustained during the escape bid.

Six of the other incarcerated accused have, meanwhile, also threatened to launch an urgent application as they had to appear in court in leg irons and lost all of their privileges along with the five who tried to escape.

Van Rooyen and Gouws were previously on the run for eight months after escaping from the court cells in 2008.

The state has asked for the conviction of all 20 accused on the main charge of high treason, arguing that a right-wing plot to violently overthrow the government was continuing to this day. — Sapa

Staff Reporter
Guest Author

Hlophe complaint is an eerie echo

But the new complaint against the Western Cape judge president is also unprecedented

Mabuza contract grows by R10m

Eskom’s negotiators in a R100-million maintenance contract came back with a proposal to push up the costs

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Press Releases

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.