The Supreme Court of Appeal has set aside the attempted murder and intimidation conviction in the so-called “coffin assault” case of Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson – but has upheld the assault, grievous bodily harm, kidnapping, and other convictions.
The duo was convicted by the High Court sitting in Middelburg in Mpumalanga after being caught on camera forcing Rethabile Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatening to set it alight.
Oosthuizen and Jackson were sentenced to 11 years and 14 years behind bars respectively in 2017.
The SCA has now reduced their prison terms to an effective five years. It found the offences to be of a serious nature.
The High Court found Oosthuizen and Jackson guilty of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, kidnapping, and intimidation.
The Supreme Court of Appeal found that the seriousness of the offences was compounded by the fact that the crimes committed infringed on the constitutional rights of the complainant.
Even more reprehensible, Oosthuizen and Jackson never at any stage accepted responsibility for their actions.
The SCA says this would impact on their prospects of rehabilitation.
Appellate judges have further ruled that the most disturbing part was that whilst threatening Mlotshwa with a gruesome death, Oosthuizen and Jackson had the audacity to video record their sadistic actions.