Two men ac­cused of poach­ing granted bail

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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