Free me, says Boeremag man
A MAN who was found guilty of harbouring Boeremag fugitives who had escaped from the Pretoria High Court will today ask the Constitutional Court to declare his imprisonment unlawful.
Jacobus Bogaards, 52, was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2007. His appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2008 to have his conviction and sentence set aside failed.
Bogaards was arrested with Elizabeth Bogaards, 54, on January 13 2007 for contravening sections 11 and 12 of the Terrorism Act, in that he harboured and concealed escaped trialists and failed to report them.
The case stems from the escape from lawful custody of Boeremag members Rudi Gouws and Herman van Rooyen.
The two men were arrested and charged with murder, sabotage and several counts of terrorism under the Internal Security Act.
Their trial subsequently came to be known as the "Boeremag trial".
Gouws and Van Rooyen escaped from custody on May 3 2006 while on trial at the Pretoria High Court.
Bogaards was initially charged in the Modimolle Regional Court.
He was also alternatively charged in terms of section 115 (e) of the Correctional Services Act.
He was convicted in respect of the main charge and was sentenced to five years imprisonment, two years of which were suspended.
The SCA set aside his conviction under the Terrorism Act. Instead, it convicted him on an alternative charge under section 115 (e), which criminalises the harbouring or concealment of escaped prisoners and imposed a five year prison sentence. Bogaards challenged his conviction in the Constitutional Court on the basis that prisoners can only be lawfully incarcerated in terms of a valid warrant of detention.
Since the escapees were held in terms of a court order and not a valid warrant, he argued that they were held unlawfully and could not be considered inmates as required by the Correctional Services Act. He contended that his conviction was therefore unlawful.
Bogaards argued that his sentence was improper in that the SCA imposed a higher sentence without identifying any factors justifying its imposition and furthermore that the SCA failed to notify him that his sentence may be increased.