A young life snuffed out: David Olyne
The man who killed David Olyne in a brutal homophobic attack was found guilty of his murder on Thursday, but activists say justice was not served.
The Western Cape High Court in Ceres found that Christo Oncke brutally beat and kicked the tied-up 22-year-old to death in March 2014 as a group of young locals watched on. His wire-bound body was also set on fire.
Triangle Project reported that Judge Siraj Desai noted that Oncke, in his own account of the murder, used the words “Moffie” and “Bunny” while attacking Olyne, and concluded that it was a hate crime fuelled by the victim being gay.
The judge also found the accused and two of the defence witnesses to be weak in their testimonies and in the case of one of them, Desai felt that the witness had been “coached”.
Desai added that in the interest of justice, Oncke, 29, would be sent for psychiatric evaluation before sentencing on 22 February. Oncke has learning difficulties, has a Grade 1 education, can only write his first name and cannot read.
Triangle said in a statement that despite the guilty verdict it was disappointed by the outcome of the case. It pointed out that 11 people were present at the crime scene during the attack and yet the state only focused on Oncke as the single perpetrator.
The organisation, which has monitored the case from the beginning, believes that two other people were likely involved in the killing.
“There are definitely at least two people tonight feeling very proud of themselves for getting away with murder,” wrote Sharon Cox, Triangle’s Health and Support Services Manager, on Facebook. “There is a mother and a family mourning the loss of their son to the criminal justice system for who knows how long, because of absolutely shoddy police investigation.”
Triangle slammed the police’s investigation, accusing the authorities of oversight, a lack of thorough investigation, and of not following up on leads and witnesses it provided.
“This is not justice for David,” said the organisation, “justice at any cost is not justice at all.”