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Two men accused of poaching granted bail

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After spending four nights behind bars, Franco Smith, the son of prominent Kimberley broker Ian Smith, was yesterday released from custody on bail of R5 000.

ACCUSED: After spending four nights behind bars, Franco Smith (back), the son of a prominent local broker, and his co-accused, John Tabang Hoogstander, were yesterday released from custody after being arrested following an alleged poaching incident. Picture: Danie van der Lith

AFTER spending four nights behind bars, Franco Smith, the son of prominent Kimberley broker Ian Smith, was yesterday released from custody on bail of R5 000.

Smith, 26, from Broadwaters in Douglas, together with his co-accused, John Tabang Hoogstander, 18, from Riemvasmaak in Douglas, appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday after being arrested on Thursday night on a farm outside Kimberley following an alleged poaching incident.

The two men are facing three charges with regard to contravening the Northern Cape Nature Conservation Act, after allegedly poaching two kudus on the R357 between Liefdesdal and Rooidam on Thursday last week.

The State alleges that the two “unlawfully and intentionally hunted and transported two kudus, which are protected animals, without a permit”, “outside the hunting period as declared in terms of the provisions of a notice declaring the hunting season” and “with a firearm having a barrel with a calibre less than 6.85 mm”.

Smith and Hoogstander were arrested on Thursday evening on Smith’s family farm after being found in possession of two kudu carcasses by the police.

According to information, a farmer from the area noticed the two men driving “suspiciously” in a Ford Courier on a dirt road in the area on Thursday evening.

The farmer then apparently followed the vehicle and alerted police after they arrived at the 26-year-old suspect’s father’s farm. Here the farmer blocked the entrance gate, so as to prevent the two suspects from leaving.

The police arrived on the scene, where they found the two men and the carcasses of two kudus. A .222 calibre rifle with a silencer, which is believed to have been used during the alleged poaching incident, was also discovered on the farm.

The two kudus have an estimated value of R9 000 each.

State prosecutor, Ruhann Steyn, yesterday told the court that he had no objection to the accused being released on bail.

Smith was granted bail of R5 000, while Hoogstander was granted R2 000 bail.

The matter was remanded to next year for further investigations and ballistic and forensic reports to be completed.