South Africa

Outlaws gang members sentenced on a range of charges including murder

Cape Town - Two Cape Town gang members have been sentenced on a range of charges including murder, attempted murder and charges relating to the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca).

Cheslyn Abrahams and Antino Sassman are members of the Outlaws gang in Valhalla Park.

The crimes range from between 2013 and 2014 after a gang war erupted in the area when alleged 28s gang boss Colin Stanfield died, which left a void in the drug territory in Valhalla Park and surrounding areas which also resulted in infighting in the gang.

This resulted in the establishment of smaller gangs, where youngsters were used to execute and eliminate rival gang members.

The known gangs that originated from this were the Outlaws and the Rude Boys.

Police believe over 30 people died during this gang war, however, only a few cases were before the court.

In June, Abrahams was convicted on five counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder, four counts of illegal possession of firearms and four counts of illegal possession of ammunition, as well as charges relating to the Poca.

Sassman was convicted on a count relating to the Poca, as well as possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.

All the crimes committed by Abrahams have been linked to Rude Boys territory.

Abrahams’s shooting victims included members of the Rude Boys gang, as well as innocent casualties, among them a Somalian shop owner and a 3-year-old girl, who survived.

Investigating officer Clement Petersen secured the conviction and sentencing of the duo. Photo: supplied

Abrahams, who is a high-ranking member of the Outlaws gang, went on the rampage from May 29, 2014, until September 28, 2014, when he not only attacked rival gang members but shot bystanders trying to assist those injured during the shootings.

At the time, the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Clement Petersen, said the all-out gang war in Valhalla Park nearly wiped out the entire Rude Boys gang.

Petersen had to convince witnesses and victims to testify and guarantee their safety once they testified.

The trial against the accused started in 2015 and has been met with a roller-coaster of events, such as attempts on the lives of witnesses and the arrangement of witness protection programmes.

At one point, one of the convicted men escaped from Pollsmoor Prison, which resulted in a manhunt, and was rearrested in Porterville.

The lengthy trial resulted in the matter being transferred from the Western Cape High Court to the Khayelitsha Priority Court.

During sentencing, the court found that at the time the crimes were committed, both men were minors, and thus had no alternative but to consider the Child Justice Act when handing down sentence.

Abrahams was sentenced to an effective 22 years direct imprisonment and Sassman to an effective nine year direct imprisonment.

The court also ordered the seven years the men spent in custody to be deducted from their sentencing.

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