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South African court exonerates ‘sunflower murder’ pair

Two white South African farmers convicted of murdering a black teenager who they accused of stealing sunflowers worth $5 (£3) have had their sentences overturned and are now free.

Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte (Picture by Chante Schatz - News24)
Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte (Pictured by Chante Schatz – News24)

Matlhomola Mosweu’s death in 2017, in Coligny, North West Province, triggered protests and outrage.

Pieter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte were later sentenced to 18 and 23 years respectively.

A court ruled in 2019 that the 16-year-old’s neck was broken and he was pushed out of a moving vehicle driven by the pair.

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But Mr Doorewaard and Mr Schutte denied murder, saying the boy fell out while they were taking him to the police station.

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Appeal found the pair not guilty and overturned their convictions and sentences.

Its judges said the evidence was contradictory and the prosecution “did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.” BBC News

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