Ca­se clo­sed

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - Letters -

Wed­nes­day was such a beau­ti­ful day.

The skies we­re blue and the we­at­her sun­ny fol­lo­wing the rain the pre­vi­ous day.

The veld was a­wash with the co­lour of spring flo­wers and hen­ce the air smelt al­most sweet.

Through the lens of my ca­me­ra, it ma­de a rat­her pret­ty, e­ver-so­nor­mal pic­tu­re.

Ex­cept for the group of pe­op­le wal­king do­wn the nar­row, win­ding farm ro­ad, the sce­ne of hei­nous cri­me ne­ar Har­ten­bos, w­he­re a farmer was shot and kil­led, al­most three y­e­ars ago.

A­mong the group doing the in lo­co in­specti­on we­re sui­ted mem­bers of the ju­di­ci­al te­am, se­ver­al po­li­ce mem­bers and so­mew­he­re in the midd­le of the group, a tall man with an e­mo­ti­on­less fa­ce, his hands and feet cuf­fed.

An ob­ser­ver, tas­ked to ta­ke a few pho­to­grap­hs, I re­mai­ned at a dis­tan­ce.

Ben­ding do­wn to pick a su­ring on the si­de of the ro­ad to c­hew on (an old ha­bit of mi­ne), I no­ti­ced how the chain of the foot-shackles worn by the sus­pect drag­ged in the gra­vel. A wit­ness was poin­ting out par­ti­cu­lars con­tai­ned in her tes­ti­mo­ny to the jud­ge.

Mem­bers of the pro­ces­si­on stop­ped, tal­ked, wal­ked up and do­wn the ro­ad se­ver­al ti­mes.

One could o­ver­he­ar the po­li­ce of­fi­cers, trai­ling s­lig­ht­ly be­hind the sus­pect, re­count me­mo­ries of the cri­me sce­ne and from their com­ments, sen­sed their re­lief that the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on had fi­nal­ly got to this point.

All the whi­le the sus­pect, the on­ly one of six men fa­cing court thus far, was po­ker fa­ced. At so­me point, he re­lie­ved him­self in bus­hes be­si­de the ro­ad.

Hi­ding my se­ar­ching ey­es be­hind my ca­me­ra lens, I was trying to find so­mething re­dee­ma­ble in his ga­ze, but it ga­ve a­way no­thing.

It was stran­ge to think, that of e­ver­yo­ne pre­sent, who can sim­ply col­lect, pre­sent and dis­sect the e­vi­den­ce found, he mig­ht be the on­ly one who knows ex­act­ly w­hat went do­wn that day.

A small de­tail at the sce­ne, that re­mai­ned with me all week, was seeing farm­hands sim­ply going a­bout their dai­ly work. Un­per­tur­bed.

A­mong them was the wi­dow of the mur­de­red farmer, trying to fo­cus on the task at hand despi­te the pos­se pa­trol­ling the ro­ad le­a­ding up to the farm buil­dings. One can on­ly i­ma­gi­ne w­hat must ha­ve go­ne through her mind, es­pe­ci­al­ly as the sus­pect wal­ked by.

How she must long for ans­wers or may­be the a­bi­li­ty to turn back ti­me.

For her, re­gard­less of how the ca­se pans out, li­fe has chan­ged fo­re­ver.

For the rest of us, it will be front pa­ge news on­ce, pos­si­bly twi­ce. And e­ven­tu­al­ly, it will sim­ply be "ca­se clo­sed".

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