/ 19 April 2012

Terre’Blanche murder trial closes for judgment

Terre'blanche Murder Trial Closes For Judgment

The trial of two people accused of killing right-wing leader Eugene Terre’Blanche was postponed in the high court sitting in Ventersdorp on Thursday.

Judge John Horn postponed the matter to May 22 for his judgment.

“It is probably going to be a long judgment. So prepare yourselves for a long judgment,” Horn told the state and the defence.

Chris Mahlangu and a teenager are charged with beating Terre’Blanche to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp in the North West on April 3 2010.

Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mahlangu has claimed he acted in self-defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.

Mahlangu and the youth declined to testify. The state and the defence closed their cases last week.

Horn wished the youth, who turns 18 on Sunday, a happy birthday.

‘Generally exploited’
Earlier on Thursday the boy’s lawyer, Norman Arendse, said in his closing arguments that workers on Terre’Blanche’s farm were exploited.

“Farmworkers like the accused are generally exploited.”

Terre’Blanche was a well-known white supremacist who “had a well-documented history of taking the law into his own hands”. He referred to Terre’Blanche’s being jailed for assaulting a petrol station attendant in 1993. Arendse added that police knew a minor worked on Terre’Blanche’s farm, but did nothing about it.

“The ‘dop system’ is alive and well.”

He was referring to labourers being paid with alcohol. Terre’Blanche bought alcohol for the two accused on the day of his murder. Arendse said since neither of the two could drive, the third charge of attempted robbery was unfounded.

Mahlangu’s lawyer Kgomotso Tlouane on Thursday again brought up his clients’ claims that Terre’Blanche had sodomised him, which State prosecutor George Baloyi dismissed as “made-up stories”.

“The issue of sodomy was timorously raised,” Baloyi said after the state on Wednesday argued that the allegation was not mentioned during the bail application.

And again on Thursday during his response to the defence’s closing arguments he called the sodomy defence “contrived”.

During the trial Tlouane maintained Mahlangu went into Terre’Blanche’s house to fetch his suitcase when the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader attacked and sodomised him. Mahlangu subsequently killed Terre’Blanche in self-defence.

No evidence
During his response Baloyi also mentioned the disappearance of a semen-like fluid, seen on Terre’Blanche’s genitals in police photos of the crime scene.

“We submit that the reasonable explanation is that it might have rubbed off on the body bag.”

The defence has argued that police removed it two hours before a morgue employee was allowed into Terre’Blanche’s bedroom.

Baloyi added that if police had intended to remove the semen, then police witnesses would not have testified to seeing it and they could easily have deleted pictures in which it was seen.

On Wednesday, Arendse told the court the state had no evidence against the teenager. He said the state was relying on hearsay admissions made by Mahlangu about the youth’s role in the crime.

Baloyi told the court on Wednesday: “The state’s submission is that both accused should be found guilty as charged on all counts.”

He described the case as extraordinary because the two did not run away after the murder, instead walking a great distance to alert the police. — Sapa