Sunday, April 01, 2007

Two players charged with murder of Riaan Loots

July 18, 2006

Murray Williams of The Cape Argus reports two Boland rugby players were formally charged on Tuesday with the murder of star flyhalf Riaan Loots.

Ben Zimri, 26, the team's eighth man, and inside centre Wayne Matthee, 19, arrived at the police pound at 8am, accompanied by their lawyer, Barnito "Benoux" Klaasen.

Inside, the two men were formally charged by investigating officer Bernard Prince.

They then walked across the police pound to the courtroom, hiding their faces from a small army of media. [...]

Zimri said he was a father of two, earned R450 a week working for an agricultural company and paid maintenance of R300 a month for each child.

Matthee said he lived with his parents in Paarl, was unmarried, had no children and dreamed of becoming a professional rugby player.

Klaasen told the court that neither man had previous convictions or outstanding charges against them.

They would agree not to interfere or make contact with any State witnesses if released on bail. The players said they could afford to pay bail of R500 each, if necessary.

The State agreed with Klaasen that neither of his clients were flight risks.

Theron released the pair on a warning to appear again on September 8, while the police investigated further.

It is understood that police are still awaiting a final medical report on Loots.

Also in court today was D. P. Spangenberg, chairman of Rawsonville club.

"Everyone on the field that day saw what happened," he said afterwards.

"It's still very raw for us - some players are still traumatised. I just hope justice is served."

He said the two sides were not on speaking terms.

"There's a lot of hatred."

Whole article.

SABC reports Spangenberg, the chairperson of the Rawsonville rugby club, has condemned the release of two rugby players.

I guess so. 500 Rand is worth USD$70. When was the last time you ever heard of a person charged with murder being released on bail of SEVENTY DOLLARS??!!

Admittedly, I don't know much about South African law and society. But that bail seems to me criminally low, even if there's a low chance of flight. Every time I update these reports, I feel sicker and sadder. Let's hope something good can come from all this.

  • Loots murder archive.

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