Two men accused of poaching granted bail
AFTER spending four nights behind bars, Franco Smith, the son of prominent Kimberley broker Ian Smith, was yesterday released from custody on bail of R5 000.
Smith, 26, from Broadwaters in Douglas, together with his co-accused, John Tabang Hoogstander, 18, from Riemvasmaak in Douglas, appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday after being arrested on Thursday night on a farm outside Kimberley following an alleged poaching incident.
The two men are facing three charges with regard to contravening the Northern Cape Nature Conservation Act, after allegedly poaching two kudus on the R357 between Liefdesdal and Rooidam on Thursday last week.
The State alleges that the two “unlawfully and intentionally hunted and transported two kudus, which are protected animals, without a permit”, “outside the hunting period as declared in terms of the provisions of a notice declaring the hunting season” and “with a firearm having a barrel with a calibre less than 6.85 mm”.
Smith and Hoogstander were arrested on Thursday evening on Smith’s family farm after being found in possession of two kudu carcasses by the police.
According to information, a farmer from the area noticed the two men driving “suspiciously” in a Ford Courier on a dirt road in the area on Thursday evening.
The farmer then apparently followed the vehicle and alerted police after they arrived at the 26-year-old suspect’s father’s farm. Here the farmer blocked the entrance gate, so as to prevent the two suspects from leaving.
The police arrived on the scene, where they found the two men and the carcasses of two kudus. A .222 calibre rifle with a silencer, which is believed to have been used during the alleged poaching incident, was also discovered on the farm.
The two kudus have an estimated value of R9 000 each.
State prosecutor, Ruhann Steyn, yesterday told the court that he had no objection to the accused being released on bail.
Smith was granted bail of R5 000, while Hoogstander was granted R2 000 bail.
The matter was remanded to next year for further investigations and ballistic and forensic reports to be completed. LOAD shedding in the Kimberley CBD yesterday led to the postponement of the trial of well-known Kimberley businessman and owner of West End Meat Supply, Josef Adriaan de Klerk, who is facing a plethora of charges relating to sexual offences, including rape, attempted rape and sexual assault, allegedly committed against former female employees of the butchery.
De Klerk previously pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including one charge of rape, two of attempted rape and six charges of sexual assault.
The charges stem from criminal acts that De Klerk allegedly committed between November 2015 and September 2017 involving two female complainants who were employed at West End Meat Supply at the time.
De Klerk handed himself over to police in November 2017 and was released on R10 000 bail in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court shortly thereafter.
It is alleged that De Klerk sexually assaulted the first complainant during four instances in November 2015 by “touching her breasts and buttocks without her consent”, “touching and putting a stick between her buttocks without her consent”, “touching her buttocks, vagina and breasts without her consent” and “touching her breasts without her consent”.
With regard to the second complainant, De Klerk stands accused of rape after he allegedly “unlawfully and intentionally committed an act of sexual penetration by inserting his finger into the complainant’s vagina without her consent” in September 2017, and two charges of attempted rape after he allegedly twice “unlawfully and intentionally attempted to commit a sexual offence by undressing the complainant of her clothes and putting his penis between her thighs in order to have sexual intercourse with her without her consent” in August 2017.
De Klerk also faces another sexual assault charge after he allegedly touched the second complainant’s vagina without her consent in September 2017.
While the case was set down for trial in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court this week, De Klerk’s appearance was delayed after a two-hour power outage as a result of load shedding, from 10 am to noon.
His case was only called at around 1pm and his legal representative, Rian Bode, indicated to the court that the matter would not be able to conclude this week as “load shedding would have a major impact on the court roll for this week and would only be left with about two hours per day for proceedings”.
The matter was postponed to February next year, when the State witnesses are expected to continue with their testimony.