Men ‘under influence’ at time of deadly attack

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Lawyers for two of the three men convicted of an attack on a Walmer resident whose life ended as a result of severe burns inflicted upon him, claimed their clients were under the influence of drugs at the time of the offence and asked a Port Elizabeth High Court judge for leniency during sentencing proceedings.
Advocate Xolile Bodlo, for Lukhanyo Xoli, 27, said his client had been smoking drugs on the day Lunga Moos, 25, was assaulted, stabbed and set on fire after a dispute about money and a broken television set.
“[Xoli and his co-accused] were continuously smoking drugs that night – surely this would have affected his actions,” Bodlo said.
Xoli, along with Anethemba Sabelo, 27, and Bongani Klaas, 26, all of Airport Valley, were convicted of the December 2015 murder of Moos. Xoli was convicted on an additional charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
In a similar fashion advocate Gert Cillie, for Klaas, claimed his client had been under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the attack occurred.
“The effect of the consumption of alcohol and drugs on the day of the offence . . . is a mitigating circumstance this court must consider. [Klaas’s] moral blame is thus diminished,” Cillie submitted.
Sabelo’s legal representative Peet Schoonraad said there was no evidence his client knew Moos was going to be set on fire and that there was no premeditation to commit murder.
“I concede there was a plan to look for [Moos] later [that night] but there was no plan to murder him,” Schoonraad said.
According to Schoonraad, Sabelo was merely present when a scuffle broke out between Xoli and Moos and was later woken up by his co-accused to go and look for Moos.
Moos was attacked after the door of his home was kicked in and he was pulled outside following a heated argument at Sabelo’s house about money Moos allegedly owed Xoli.
During the argument a fourth accused who turned state witness and who later lost his indemnity, Simphiwe Chopela, said after Xoli attacked Moos, Sabelo intervened, resulting in the TV being damaged. All three legal representatives asked the court to take into consideration that their clients were fairly young and they had no previous convictions.
State prosecutor advocate Velile Makasana said submissions by the defence regarding the three men’s individual substantial and compelling circumstances were not special.
Acting judge Lisa Ntsepe stood the matter down in order for the parties to confirm a date for sentencing...

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