National 17.3.2017 04:54 pm

Charge withdrawn against accused caught with Blochliger cellphone

Image courtesy Apple

Image courtesy Apple

This after it was discovered there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction against Jonathan Jonas.

A charge of possession of stolen property relating to the Apple iPhone allegedly stolen during the murder and robbery of Kalk Bay teenager Franziska Blochliger in Tokai Forest last year, was “provisionally” withdrawn against Jonathan Jonas in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Jonas, represented by legal aid lawyer Laetitia September, was to have pleaded not guilty on Friday when his trial was scheduled to have commenced before magistrate Wezile Rixana.

Instead of requesting Jonas to plead to the charge, prosecutor Craig Esterhuyse told the court he had instructions from the Western Cape Directorate of Public Prosecutions to withdraw the charge.

The docket had been sent to the DPP to decide whether the State should proceed with the charge and, if so, in which forum – the District or Regional Court.

The prosecutor said the DPP’s senior State advocate, Lehnro Badenhorst, had decided that there was, at this stage, insufficient evidence to secure a conviction against Jonas, and had ordered the provisional withdrawal of the charge.

The charge may be reinstituted at any stage of further investigation produces sufficient evidence on which to proceed.

The magistrate told Jonas that he was free to go, but warned him that he could find himself back in the dock again, facing the same charge, sometime in the future.

Last month, two other men were each fined R5 000 or 12 months jail, entirely suspended for five years, for possession of stolen property relating to the teenager’s iPhone.

They had pleaded guilty before magistrate Sylvia Mandla, who agreed with defence lawyers Monique Carsten and Kevin Peterson that the case did not justify a jail sentence.

A fourth man, who may not be named until his trial commences in the Cape High Court, faces charges of murder, rape and aggravated robbery, relating to the teenager’s death.

– African News Agency

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