They were found guilty in 2017 and given heavy sentences for attempted murder, kidnapping and assault by the High Court sitting in Middelburg.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in Mangaung has reportedly amended the finding guilty and sentencing of Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson.
News24 reports that court papers dated 2 December 2019 show the appeal court adjusted the two’s sentences and conviction, maintaining assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and kidnapping.
The conviction of attempted murder and intimidation were set aside and will now see both men’s sentences reduced to 5 years.
They were sentenced in the infamous ‘coffin case’ on 27 October 2017 having been arrested in November 2016 after the video of them forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin surfaced on social media and caused public outcry.
Mlotshwa was accused by the two farmers of trespassing and stealing on the farm before being attacked and forced into a coffin, while being told they wanted to bury him alive or burn him.
The Middelburg police acted and arrested both Oosthuizen and Jackson – and charged them.
One of them got 11 years and the other 14 years in prison.
Oosthuizen was actually sentenced to 16 years imprisonment, five of which was suspended for 8 years, which translated it to the years he had to spend in jail being 11 years.
Jackson got a 19-year jail term, with five years suspended, and gave him an effective 14 years behind bars.
The Tshwane High Court sitting in Middelburg dismissed their application to appeal the sentences, saying the matter was too serious.
They then went to the Supreme Court of Appeal where they won the argument to have some elements of the case reviewed.
The appeal court also maintained the conviction of defeating the ends of justice for Jackson after he burnt the coffin that was to be used as evidence in court.
In her ruling, appeal court Judge Yvonne Mbata ordered that both men’s sentences be reduced to 5 years.
“The result is that both appellants will be sentenced to an effective five years’ imprisonment,” she said, after saying that other sentences will run concurrently with the main assault one.
(edited by MLM)
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