Two South African men accused of killing teenager over sunflowers win appeal

The two men who were found guilty of murdering South African teenager for allegedly stealing a sunflower are now free after the country’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned the conviction.

The judgement was given on Friday.

Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte were found guilty of killing 16-year-old Matlhomola Mosweu on April 20, 2017, by pushing him out of a moving van after they found him stealing sunflower heads worth R80 at their employer’s field at Rietvlei farm near Scotland informal settlement in the country’s North West Province.

Judge Ronald Hendricks found them guilty in October 2018 of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing a firearm.

Doorewaard was sentenced to 18 years behind bars and Schutte handed 23 years.

The judge also said he had to consider the murder was not planned and the duo were first offenders, hence he deviated from imposing life sentences.

However, Doorewaard and Schutte had maintained their innocence throughout the trial. They said they had put Matlhomola in the back of the bakkie to take him to the police station but he had jumped out on the way.

They enlisted the assistance of Advocate Barry Roux and took the matter to the SCA to appeal their conviction and sentence, which was then successful.

AfriForum, a group that protects the rights of Afrikaans-speaking people and other minority groups in South Africa, covered the full costs of the application for appeal.

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said they had decided to finance the two men’s application for appeal because they believed in their innocence.

“Today justice was served,” Kriel said.

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