A warrant for Tsotetsi’s arrest was only executed 11 years later in November 2012, but the other two were not re-arrested.
The original charge sheet could not be found, nor was there any indication of what had happened in the case prior to the issuing of the warrants of arrest.
The erstwhile prosecutor was no longer available and the magistrate had no recollection of the particular case.
Because the record of the trial went missing, no court was in a position to sentence the accused or bring their trial to finality.
The magistrate who presided in the case requested that Tsotetsi’s conviction be set aside and that he should be tried again.
Judges Bill Prinsloo and Andre Louw said that a trial which stopped at conviction without being concluded could not be said to be fair and would therefore be unconstitutional.
He said it would be even more unfair to charge a person for a second time where his trial could not be finalised because the court records have, through no fault of the accused, gone astray and could not be reconstructed.