A farmer who tied a suspected stock thief to a pole and doused him with acid has had his prison sentence reduced by a third.
Thabiso Wesi‚ 53‚ was sentenced to 15 years by the regional court in Taung‚ North West‚ but this was cut to 10 years after he appealed to the High Court in Mahikeng.
Judge Maleshane Kgoele said the trial court had overlooked the fact that it was Wesi’s first offence and that thefts of his goats had caused him sleepless nights.
The court heard that Wesi found his victim in his kraal in the middle of the night. He tied his hands with wire‚ then bound one of his feet to a pole before throwing acid over him.
One of the police officers who rescued him told the regional court the man suffered extensive burns.
Wesi’s lawyer told the High Court the offence was not premeditated and that he was a victim of circumstances. The trial court had been wrong when it said: “This is a case where rehabilitation of the offender must play a smaller role and deterrence and retribution must come to the fore.”
Kgoele said Wesi “took the law into his own hands and applied drastic measures” when he should have called the police. However‚ the sentence imposed in 2013 was too harsh‚ she said.