- Doorewaard and Another v the State (Case No 908/2019)  ZASCA 155 (27 November 2020) and 2021(1) SACR 235 (SCA)
Mr Pieter Doorewaard (accused 1) and Mr Philip Schutte (accused 2) were convicted before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province (“the trial court”) on five counts, namely murder; kidnapping; intimidation; theft and illegal pointing of a firearm. The trial was a sequel to the much-publicised case of the death of Mathlomola Jonas Mosweu, a 15-year-old boy child (the deceased) who either jumped from the back of a moving bakkie while on its way to the local police station in Coligny, or who was thrown from the bakkie, allegedly by the two accused persons. According to the two accused, they had arrested the deceased (made a citizen’s arrest)* when they noticed him stealing sunflower heads from their employer’s farm (see paragraph  of the SCA judgment).
The trial court refused an application for leave to appeal, which was subsequently granted by the Supreme Court of Appeal (“the SCA”).
Here in the SCA, the appeal was heard before a bench of three judges, namely Acting Judge of Appeal A P Ledwaba; Judge of Appeal M B Molemela; and Judge of Appeal V M Ponnan. Each of these three judges delivered their own judgments.
The Ledwaba judgment
After analysing the evidence as presented before the trial court, Judge Ledwaba came to the conclusion that the main witness for the State/prosecution, namely Mr Sibongile Pakisi, was a single witness for whose evidence there was no corroboration (Afrikaans: “stawing”).
Accordingly, the State/prosecution did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and that both the accused should therefore be acquitted on all charges (see paragraphs  and  of the SCA judgment).
The Molemela judgment
According to Judge Molemela, she was inclined to agree with the trial court that the police investigation in this matter was bungled (messed up). However, where Judge Molemela differed with the trial court, is the extent or the impact of such bungling (see para  of the SCA judgment). Judge Molemela also disagreed with the criticism by Judge Ponnan’s judgment (see infra), in relation to the trial court’s refusal of the two accused’s application for their discharge at the close of the State/prosecution case as contemplated in section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (see para ). Accordingly, Judge Molemela came to the conclusion that only accused 1 (Doorewaard) should have been convicted of culpable homicide and not of murder (see para ).