Poacher pays R100k fine

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Ilse de Lange

One of the al­leged cen­tral play­ers in the so-called Groe­newald rhino poach­ing syn­di­cate, pro­fes­sional hunter Nar­dus Ros­souw, has been re­leased on bail for a sec­ond time af­ter pay­ing a R100 000 fine for the il­le­gal possession of rhino horn in a sep­a­rate case.

Judge Pierre Ra­bie yesterday granted R30 000 bail to Ros­souw, linked to strict bail con­di­tions.

Ros­souw will live with his sis­ter in Pre­to­ria and will no­tify the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer if he man­ages to find a job. He may also not leave Gaut­eng with­out in­form­ing the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer.

He was out on bail in the Groe­newald case when he was re­ar­rested in Oc­to­ber last year af­ter be­ing caught with 11 il­le­gal rhino horns. He pleaded guilty and was fined R100 000 in the Makopane Re­gional Court last month af­ter claim­ing he didn’t com­mit the of­fences out of greed but be­cause of a mis­placed de­sire “to help a very ill per­son to get funds”.

The High Court in Pre­to­ria in Fe­bru­ary dis­missed an ap­pli­ca­tion by Ros­souw and Karen Toet, one of his co-ac­cused in the Groe­newald syn­di­cate mat­ter, to strike the crim­i­nal case against them and six co-ac­cused off the court roll be­cause of the un­rea­son­able de­lay in the trial.

Their trial was post­poned un­til Fe­bru­ary 2021, pend­ing a con­sti­tu­tional chal­lenge to the le­git­i­macy of the charges by fel­low ac­cused Polok­wane game farmer Dawie Groe­newald and some of the other ac­cused.

He said in an af­fi­davit in sup­port of his new bail ap­pli­ca­tion there was no rea­son­able idea when the con­sti­tu­tional ap­pli­ca­tion would be con­cluded or if their trial would ac­tu­ally start in Fe­bru­ary 2021.

Even if their trial did start in 2021, it could take years to con­clude in light of the over 1 600 charges (of which he only faced 15), dur­ing which time he would have to re­main in cus­tody while the other ac­cused were out on bail, he added. He in­sisted he was not guilty of any other of­fence, had no cause to ab­scond and would stand his trial to clear his name.

Ros­souw was also pre­pared to help au­thor­i­ties in fur­ther in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pend­ing mat­ter.

The trial of al­leged mul­ti­mil­lion-rand rhino poach­ing syn­di­cate leader Hugo Ras and his co-ac­cused has been post­poned for an­other year pend­ing the out­come of a con­sti­tu­tional chal­lenge to the reg­u­la­tions un­der­pin­ning some of the charges.

A war­rant was also au­tho­rised for the ar­rest of one of Ras’ co-ac­cused, the syn­di­cate’s al­leged main hunter Mandla Ma­gag­ula, but it’s been held over un­til the end of Jan­uary 2019, when he will have to ap­pear in court or for­feit his bail.

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