Support for jailed McLaggan

Mkhululi Ndamase

FAMILY and friends of Port Elizabeth singer Iain McLaggan have taken to Facebook to support him – barely a week after he was sentenced to eight years in jail for raping an intoxicated British tourist at Shamwari Game Reserve in 2010.

And their message is clear – the justice system has failed McLaggan.

But a women’s rights activist disagrees, saying she believes justice has been done to some extent.

Berenice Jacobs-Malgas, of the Rape Crisis Centre, said eight years was better than nothing.

“Given what we have heard and read, the sentence was not enough in my mind but at least something was done.

“I do not know whether he was sentenced to eight years because he is a first offender, but the judge is very experienced,” she said.

The Facebook group, Stop this Injustice – Iain McLaggan, which was created by his sister, Donna McLaggan, had 130 supporters within 24 hours of being launched. The group took a swing at the prosecutor and the judicial system.

“Iain McLaggan has been wrongfully accused of rape and thanks to our judicial system has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.

“Due to a horrific and unjustified, obviously emotional and unprofessional prosecutor who argued what could only be a he said/she said case in front of a judge who seemed to have no actual interest in the art of justice that one would hope for in a country in such need of real integrity,” it said.

But prosecutor Nickie Turner said she did not respond to Facebook. “They brought an application of appeal and what I can tell you is that judgment will be [today]. I will abide by the judgment,” Turner said.

The group was hopeful justice would be served when McLaggan applies to appeal today.

“A judge who passed a judgement that Iain’s legal team [a legal team that have fought beyond their call of duty with incredible integrity and who have themselves been horrified by this case] have found 122 irregularities within and seemed to hold no thought to Iain’s side of the story,” the group said.

Another sister, Shona van der Merwe, described McLaggan as “a man who would never hurt a woman but rather fiercely defend her, no matter who she is”.

“He is human & made mistakes – as we all have – but rape is most definitely not one of them,” she said on the page.

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