Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tortoise Killers Sentenced

Tortoise Killers Sentenced

August 10, 2007;

MEDIA RELEASE
TORTOISE KILLERS SENTENCED
For immediate release      Tortoise sentence……….
A practicing Sangoma, Sindisiwe Mkhize (48) from Edendale with her four accused were sentenced by Pietermaritzburg Court yesterday. The five accused were sentenced to combinations of suspended imprisonment, community service and restrictions on future permits after spending months in prison awaiting trial.
This sentence came after SAPS member drove passed a house in Edendale and noticed a tortoise being hacked up by people in a garden. He immediately summoned the Organised Crime Detectives responsible for the of wildlife crimes. Further investigations revealed that the Tortoise was an endangered species of Seychelles which had been stolen from the Lion Park. The investigation drew from the expertise of a reptile expert, the SPCA and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Several other endangered species such as Lion, Leopard, water Leguaan, with many other animal parts were found and confiscated in the house of the first accused.
The first accused, Mkhize was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment suspended for 5 years and 150 hours of community service and she was further prevented from obtaining any form of wildlife permit for a period of 6 months.
It was established that the four accused have also been involved in the theft and transportation of the Tortoise to Mkhize. These were Nhlanhla Ngcobo (31) who got 12 months suspended for 5 years and 100 hours of community service for the theft and the remaining three, Siyabonga Dlamini (23), Bongani Sibiya (33) and Sithembiso Gumede (32) each received a suspended sentence of 12 months suspended for 5years. The community service will be served with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the accused will be involved in a program of alien plant eradication.
KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Crime Working Group, Rod Potter welcomed the sentence and commented that the accused would now be able to contribute to the improvement of the environment. The lengthy imprisonment prior to the finalization of the case and the remorse shown by all of the accused, has enabled the court to hand down this appropriate sentence. Not only at punishing the unlawful actions but also providing them an opportunity to change their behaviour in the future. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife hope they will all learn the value of the wildlife.
         Ends…………
MNZ// MEDIA RELEASE  News Release No. 8       8 August 2007

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