A lawyer representing Theo Martins Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen, the two men who assaulted farmworker Victor Mlotshwa before shoving him into a coffin, said on Thursday his clients were worried about the upcoming sentencing proceedings.
“Our clients are apprehensive about what might happen on the day of sentencing, and we are busy compiling an affidavit for mitigation of sentences,” said attorney Marius Coertze during an interview with the African News Agency (ANA).
Jackson and Oosthuizen were found guilty on six of the seven charges in the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga on August 25. The charges include attempted murder and also the assault of another farmworker, Dalton Sithole.
The duo were expected to be sentenced on October 23 in the same court.
Coertze told ANA that he and his team would continue representing Jackson and Oosthuizen free of charge throughout the case. He said they would put it to the court when presenting their arguments in mitigation of sentences that long sentences would have a bad effect on the personal circumstances of their clients and their families.
“We expected them [Jackson and Oosthuizen] to be found not guilty on some of the charges they faced. We will also put it to the court that the injuries sustained by the complainants [Mlotshwa and Sithole during the assaults] were not corroborated by any medical report. We hope our mitigation will work and get light sentences for them.”
Coertze told ANA last month that both Jackson and Oosthuizen racked up a bill of about R200,000 in legal fees since the start of their trial on August 31. On Thursday, he said the bill would soon be R250 000, adding his clients could not pay a cent of it.
Jackson and Oosthuizen were arrested late last year after a video showing them shoving Mlotshwa into a coffin went viral on social and other media platforms.
Commenting on the judgment last month, Mlotshwa said he wanted a 15-year jail sentences for both Jackson and Oosthuizen.