PORT ELIZABETH – A distressed witness who absconded during the trial involving six men allegedly involved in a so-called 2016 revenge mission which left two people dead, another kidnapped and saw several homes go up in flames, was convicted and sentenced in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday for failing to pitch for court proceedings.
During an enquiry, Franklyn Matthys found himself on the wrong side of the criminal justice system when Judge Glen Goosen sentenced him to three months in prison, wholly suspended for a year, on condition he was not convicted of a similar offence during that time period.
The trial came to a halt on Wednesday after Matthys, who was in the NPA’s witness protection programme, left his accommodation and failed to pitch to testify at the trial.
A warrant of arrest was issued and police searched for Matthys, who could not be traced.
Making an appearance on Thursday, Matthys said he feared for his life after another witness, who was also meant to testify in the case, was shot and killed in February.
Matthys explained that it was during a consultation with the investigating officer that a call came through to the detective that a witness by the name of ‘Mandolene’ had been shot and killed. It was at this stage Matthys decided he no longer wanted to testify.
However, Goosen said that the failure to appear when obliged to do so