Lion killer’s life sentence overturned

Lion killer’s life sentence overturned


Fri, 28 Sep 2007


Three appeal court judges on Friday set aside the life imprisonment sentence of Mark Scott-Crossley, the man earlier convicted in the Phalaborwa circuit court of murder for throwing Nelson Oupa Chisale to lions in January 2004.



The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), in a unanimous judgment, upheld an appeal by Scott-Crossley against his conviction for murdering Chisale.


The Bloemfontein court found the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chisale was alive when he was thrown into the enclosure at the Mokwalo white lion project.


The judges found the panga wounds inflicted on Chisale by Scott-Crossley’s co-accused (Doctor Mathebula and Simon Mathebula), when he was not present, could reasonably have caused the deceased’s death before he was transported to the lion park.


The judges turned around Scott-Crossley’s conviction of murder and convicted him on the lesser offence of being an accessory after the fact to murder.


"There can be no question, however, that the appellant (Scott-Crossley) participated in the concealment of the crime of murder and thus made himself guilty of being an accessory after the fact to that crime," the judgment read.


"He transported the body of the deceased in his vehicle and assisted in disposing of it at the lion camp so as to enable accused 1 (Doctor Mathebula) and 2 (Simon Mathebula) to evade the consequences of their crime," the judges said.


The SCA sentenced Scott-Crossley to five years imprisonment for being an accessory after the fact to murder and backdated it to 30 September 2005.


The judges held that the trial court had misdirected itself on the facts and the law.


It also held that the evidence led by the prosecution was unreliable as the eyewitnesses were accomplices and they had contradicted themselves and each other.

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