Who is the judge behind Mantsoe's conviction?

Sandile Mantsoe was convicted of the assault and murder of his girlfriend‚Karabo Mokoena.
Sandile Mantsoe was convicted of the assault and murder of his girlfriend‚Karabo Mokoena.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Karabo Mokoena finally has justice.

On Wednesday‚ Sandile Mantsoe was convicted of the assault and murder of his girlfriend‚ Mokoena‚ whose charred remains were found in a ditch last year. He was further found guilty of destroying her corpse in a bid to destroy evidence.

But who is Peet Johnson‚ the acting judge who made the conviction in the High Court in Johannesburg? this publication noted three historic judgments Johnson has made in the past.

- In April 2003‚ Johnson‚ who at the time was a magistrate at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court‚ found the late struggle stalwart‚ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela guilty on dozens of counts of fraud and theft. He sentenced her to five years in jail‚ saying there was overwhelming evidence against her. The fraud charges relate to loans obtained from Saambou Bank for non-ANCWL employees with the use of letters on the league's letterheads and with Madikizela-Mandela's signature. The sentence was later overturned on appeal by the Pretoria High Court.

- Johnson presided over current IPID boss Robert McBride's drunken driving charges and defeating the ends of justice. The incident related to a 2006 incident where McBride crashed a state-owned car on the R511 highway. In 2011‚ Johnson found McBride guilty and handed him a five year jail term - two years for driving under the influence of alcohol and an effective three years imprisonment for attempting to obstruct the course of justice. Media reports at the time quoted Johnson as saying that "McBride was an evil man" as he delivered guilty verdict. The conviction and sentence was later overturned.

- In 2013‚ a full bench of judges set aside Johnson's 2011 ruling to convert the imprisonment of two of the so-called "Waterkloof four" to correctional supervision after they had served just three of their 12 year sentence. The pair were alleged to have been part of a group of school boys who at the age of 16‚ assaulted a man in Constantia Park and then headed to Moretele Park where they assaulted‚ stabbed‚ stoned and used a hammer to beat a homeless man to death. Johnson had prematurely given the pair parole before they were eligible for it.

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