Two men were each fined R5,000 or 12 months in jail on Friday, for possession of an Apple iPhone that was stolen during the alleged murder, rape and armed robbery of Kalk Bay teenager, Franziska Blochliger, in the Tokai Forest last year.
Jerome Moses, 25, and Daniel Easter, 33, appeared in the Wynberg District Court, before magistrate Sylvia Mandla, and pleaded guilty to the possession of stolen property.
Although prosecutor Nicky Konisi called for prison sentences for both — on the basis that the offence of possession of stolen property was so prevalent, not only in the Western Cape, but throughout the entire country — the magistrate said jail sentences should not be “lightly resorted to”.
Because both men were unemployed, and unable to pay the fine, she suspended the entire sentence for five years.
Had they been required to pay the fine, it was likely that someone else would pay it for them, which meant that the innocent person paying the fine was being punished instead of Moses and Easter, she said.
She said she was mindful of the pending High Court case in which Howard Oliver was indicted for the murder, rape and aggravated robbery of the Kalk Bay teenager.
The magistrate said the defence team — advocate Kevin Peterson, for Moses, and attorney Monique Carsten, for Easter, — had urged the court to blend the sentence with mercy, and she had done so by suspending the entire sentence.
She said the prosecutor had called for a prison sentence, in order to deter both men as well as would-be offenders, but a jail sentence should be a last resort and not a first option.
A third accused in the case, Jonathan Jonas, who faces the same charge but has elected to plead not guilty, was remanded to March 17, for a decision to be taken by the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions.
– African News Agency