Farmer accused of public violence in Senekal escalates bail bid to High Court

Andre Pienaar was denied bail in the local magistrates court on Tuesday with the magistrate citing his ability to influence a group of protesters to the extent of setting a police van and parts of the court alight.

Violent demonstration by a group of farmers outside the Senekal Magistrates Court in the Free State on 6 October 2020. Picture: @crimeairnetwork/Twitter

SENEKAL – The man accused of public violence during racial tensions in Senekal has escalated his bid for bail to the High Court.

Andre Pienaar was denied bail in the local magistrates court on Tuesday, with the magistrate citing his ability to influence a group of protesters to the extent of setting a police van and parts of the court alight.

Protests by a group of farmers and locals turned violent last week after 21-year-old farm manager Brendin Horner was killed and tied to a fence by his neck.

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Pienaar has been charged with attempted murder, incitement to commit violence and public violence.

Magistrate Buti Mlangeni ruled that Pienaar’s lawyers failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it would be in the interests of justice to release him on bail.

He also ruled that it would cause widespread outrage that a man charged with such serious crimes has been released to the public.

But Pienaar’s lawyers have argued that the court failed to uphold the principle that the question of bail is not to determine the guilt or innocence of the appellant.

They said that the magistrate was mistaken that Pienaar influenced the group and would interfere with the investigation by virtue of knowing some of the witnesses.

They said that as a result, the court was wrong to rule that it was not in the interests of justice to release Pienaar on bail.

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