From the news desk

Sand stuffed down Franziska’s throat

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Loud applause greeted a prosecutor’s demand on Thursday that four men accused of the rape, murder and robbery of a teenager in Tokai Forest in Cape Town, be denied bail.

There were also gasps in the public gallery when prosecutor Rene Uys told the court that 16-year-old Franziska Blochliger died due to suffocation, caused by sand being stuffed down her throat as well as pressing her face in the sand.

The post-mortem report also indicated that the girl had been bludgeoned with a blunt object, the prosecutor said.

Four men are currently in custody for the alleged rape, murder and robbery of Blochliger, who was found murdered in March after she had separated from her mother and sister to go for a run in the forest, a popular recreation spot.

The four men may not be named until they have pleaded, due to the rape charges.

At Thursday’s proceedings, only two of the accused proceeded with their combined bail application, in the Wynberg District Court, before magistrate Hafeesa Mohamed. She is to hand down judgment on Friday, May 6.

One of the accused had earlier abandoned his bid for bail due to being out on parole on another matter, while another accused abandoned his bail bid on Thursday.

A group of about 30 women supporters of the Blochliger family, all wearing pink T-shirts, attended the proceedings. The front of the T-shorts bore the words, “Justice for Franziska”, and on the back were the words, “Enough is enough”.

Also in court was advocate Adrian Samuels, who was engaged by the Blochliger family on a “watching brief”, to explain the proceedings to the family as and when necessary. His brief included assisting the prosecution, if requested to do so.

The two accused still applying for bail presented their testimony by way of sworn affidavits, rather than orally.

The one accused said he needed treatment for drug addiction, and that his family was making the necessary arrangements for this.

His lawyer, Monique Caarstens, told the court it was crucial for him to be “released from custody, straight into rehabilitation”.

He admitted previous convictions for housebreaking, theft and possession of stolen property. He said in his affidavit that there may be other previous convictions that he had forgotten, due to his addiction, and added: “I do not want the court to think that I am hiding anything.”

He said he was in a shop when one of the other accused approached him about a mobile telephone that he wanted to sell.

He testified that the other accused had offered him money for drugs, if he helped him sell the phone.

He testified that he had then sold the phone to one of the other accused.

He added: “Had I known how he got the phone, I would never have agreed to help him sell it.”

He further said his father was able to pay bail of R1 000.

Both he, and the one other accused applying for bail, denied involvement in or knowledge of the alleged rape, murder and robbery.

The second accused applying for bail said he had previous convictions for theft and possession of drugs.

He was represented by attorney Andre Boltman who said his client’s release on bail would not undermine the criminal justice, or the bail system.

Both accused said they had been advised by their lawyers that, in law, they were considered innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

For this reason, their release on bail was in the interests of justice, they argued.

[Source: African News Agency]
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