Schalk Pienaar murder-accused denied bail

The Mokopane Magistrates Court has denied bail to Tsholofelo Joseph Motsoane on the grounds he is a career criminal, and he is likely to abscond. Motsoane is accused of the 2022 murder of well-known attorney Schalk Pienaar. The Private Prosecution Unit represents the Pienaar family, and today accompanied Pienaar’s widow Fransie and daughter Bardien to court.

The accused faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and other firearm-related charges and is alleged to have been the driver of the getaway car. The Pienaar family approached the unit for support last year because of delays in finalising the case. A trial date has since been set.

In his bail judgment, Magistrate JJ Venter referred to Motsoane’s extensive criminal history dating back to 2003 and that he has been found guilty and served sentences for separate cases of attempted murder, robbery and theft. Notably, he has also been found guilty of escaping from custody while he was awaiting trial on two of these cases.

Venter further found that Motosane failed to convince the court that exceptional circumstances warranted his release on bail. The magistrate commended detective Captain Ross Rossouw for his thorough affidavit, saying it was one of the best statements in opposition to bail he has read in his career. The accused stood in the dock staring blankly at Venter throughout the hour-long judgment.

Pienaar was murdered on 19 September 2022 shortly after arriving at home. He was shot ten times in his driveway. Motsoane was arrested the following month and charged with the crime. A second accused was also arrested but charges against him were later withdrawn. Pienaar’s murder is believed to be an assassination, although the motive has not been presented in court.

After judgment, Fransie Pienaar said she was relieved Motsoane had been denied bail. “It is difficult to have to sit through these proceedings and relive the night Schalk was murdered. It is difficult to accept that a man who was described by the magistrate as a career criminal was not in prison and was free to continue committing crimes. Schalk believed in justice and the judicial system. We will now focus on the trial that will take place later this year. I am grateful for the support from AfriForum,” she said.

Barry Bateman, spokesperson for the unit, welcomed the outcome. “The magistrate properly took into account all the evidence related to Motsoane’s criminal history. But importantly, he found that the state has a reasonably strong case. He referred to evidence that placed Motsoane’s car at the scene of the crime as well as his own confession. Although Motsoane’s says the confession was provided under duress, the magistrate was not convinced,” said Bateman.

The trial has been set down for 22 to 26 July 2024 in the Polokwane High Court.

Similar Posts