Johan Eksteen, a Director of BDK Attorneys, left the National Prosecuting authority red-faced in the Estcourt Regional Court. This after charges of murder, attempted murder and assault were withdrawn by the State against Mr. Eksteen’s client.
The accused, who owns and operates a farm watch security group in the Ladysmith, Bergville and Estcourt farming areas, responded to a complaint in 2015 about illegal hunters on a farm. The accused and his employee responded to the complaint, after having been advised by the police to do so alone as they do not have the capacity to immediately attend to it.
Whilst searching for the illegal hunters and having detained one, the accused was attacked by two others, armed with pickaxes and a pack of dogs. Acting in self-defence, the accused fired shots at the attacking dogs, incited by the illegal hunters. The illegal hunters fled and the accused summoned the assistance of the SAPS.
One of the illegal hunters sustained a gunshot wound and was declared deceased on the scene. The accused was not arrested but was later summoned to appear in court on the charges. On the first instance in 2015 (then also represented by Messrs. Eksteen and Du Plessis of BDK), the State withdrew the charges against the accused. He was however brought before Court once again this year.
On the first day of the trial, the State indicated their readiness to proceed. Mr Eksteen proceeded to deliver the accused’s plea explanation to the State. Surprisingly, the following day, the State decided to withdraw all charges against the accused, apparently due to one key witness being untraceable for more than a month, despite the State indicating the previous day that they were ready to proceed.
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