Treason verdict expected next month

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SABRINA DEAN – Mangaung treason accused Johan Prinsloo is expected to learn his fate next month after the case was this week postponed for judgment.

Judge Mojalefa Rampai heard closing arguments in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Monday. He said he expects to be ready to hand down judgment when the case resumes on 8 October.

Johan Prinsloo is accused of treason, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and possession of illegal weapons and ammunition. He and three others were arrested on December 16, 2012, for allegedly plotting to kill the ANC leadership during its elective conference in Mangaung.

One of the accused, Mark Trollip, admitted guilt in a plea bargain agreement with the state, while charges were withdrawn against another accused.

The third suspect, Martin Keevy, was found unfit to stand trial following psychiatric evaluation.

State Advocate Torie Pretorius on Monday asked for a splitting of charges against Prinsloo, saying there is sufficient evidence for a conviction on either high treason, or an alternate charge of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

He says the testimony of special task force member Andries Botha is particularly damning for the accused because it proves he knew more than he should have about the conspiracy. He also highlighted numerous admissions made by Prinsloo, adding that his Afrikaner patriotism provides motive.

Defense Advocate Johann Nel meanwhile argued there is insufficient objective evidence for a conviction on any of the charges. He also called into question the integrity of certain state witnesses, asking how, for example, one could trust the testimony of a person paid to infiltrate and provide reports on right wing movements.

He also highlighted testimony by one of Prinsloo’s former employees Gerrie Robbetze, where he admitted to the court he had lied to other people about being intimidated by police into giving a statement.

Prinsloo remains in custody.