Saturday, 15 December 2007

Farm attack: mastermind sentenced

December 14 2007 at 03:05PM

A 37-year-old traditional healer who planned a farm attack and robbery was sentenced by the Grahamstown High Court on Friday to 20 years in prison.

Judge Jos Jones found that Xolani Dube, of Kwazakhele, Port Elizabeth, masterminded the attack on a farmhouse near Cookhouse on October 13 2004.

Robbers broke into the house, tied the farmer's wife to a bed and raped her in front of her two young children. The 14-year-old son of a neighbouring farmer was also at the house at the time.

When the farmer walked into the house on his return from a local meeting, he was manhandled and disarmed, then locked in a large gun safe. The couple may not be named.

'everyone should be able to go to bed and feel safe'

"They were attacked in their home at night, when everyone should be able to go to bed and feel safe," Jones found in handing down sentence.

"At least one of the robbers wielded a gun, and it is most fortunate that no one was seriously injured," he noted.

The robbers stole, among other items, a Remington 25-06 calibre rifle, a Sig-Sauer 9mm parabellum pistol, a Protecta 12 bore shotgun, and a 9mm semi-automatic carbine, and ammunition.

They also took five cellphones, a video camera, two watches, of gold and silver jewellery, and a diamond ring.

In sentencing him, Jones took into account Dube's lack of previous convictions, his substantial practice as a traditional healer and his poor health.

"He did not participate in the robbery, and had no part in the dreadful events that occurred in the house.

"But, as the mastermind behind it, he is no less morally blameworthy than the actual perpetrators. He took them to the farm and collected them afterwards, and shared in the stolen goods."

Jones sentenced Dube to 20 years for the robbery and to five years on each of two counts under the Firearms and Ammunition Act, but ordered that the sentences run concurrently.

Dube's two co-accused were jailed for 20 years each in a separate trial in 2005.

Dube was to have been sentenced on Thursday, but had to be briefly hospitalised after apparently drinking a toxic cleaning fluid while in prison. - Sapa


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