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Judicial CP - April 1976

Corpun file 14116

Windhoek Advertiser, 29 April 1976

Judge-President Warns Soldiers

By a Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK: The Judge President of South West Africa, Mr Justice F.-H. Badenhorst, has issued a stern warning to members of the South African Defence Force not to abuse their position in Ovamboland.

cuttingSentencing two National Servicemen to several cuts with a heavy cane and a stiff suspended sentence yesterday, the Judge warned Defence Force personnel not to expect any mercy if they were found guilty of assaulting innocent Ovambos or raiding their homes.

Earlier, he had found Private Herman Steytler Scholz (19), and Private David Michael Stratford (20), guilty of housebreaking with the intent to assault the occupants indecently, indecent assault and malicious damage to property.

The incident took place at the home of an old Ovambo Pastor when an Army patrol passed through the area in August last year.

Private Scholz was found guilty of assaulting the Pastor's near-blind wife by ripping her dress open to the waist and fondling (betas) her. Private Stratford, the Judge said, had assaulted the Pastor -- "a dignified old man of more than 80 years" -- to keep him out of the way.

He described them as "totally undisciplined" young men who had lied under oath to save their skins. Passing sentence, he took several factors into consideration -- that they were young, had no previous convictions; that they had spent five weeks in detention in barracks while the case was being investigated and that they had been in the operational area for approximately a year -- during which time they had little normal contact with women.

However, Judge Badenhorst stressed that he also had to keep the interests of the community in mind and impose a sentence which would act as a deterrent to others.

Scholz was sentenced to six cuts with a heavy cane. Stratford was sentenced to five cuts. Both were given a nine-month prison sentence conditionally suspended for three years.

Judge F.-H. Badenhorst presided. Mr H.F. van Zyl prosecuted and Mr L.C. Muller appeared for the National Servicemen.

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