Footage of two men repeatedly beating and stabbing a defenseless Cape fur seal pup shocked animal lovers across the country last year. In the video, the animal is trapped in a compartment of the boat’s deck and desperately tries to escape while being viciously tortured.
The stomach-turning two-minute clip shows the pair of fishermen grabbing the pup by the scruff of its neck and bashing it against the deck of the boat. At one point, the fisherman making the video tells his accomplice to give the seal beer. The accomplice proceeds to pour beer over the pup, but eventually grows fed up with its wiggling. He then grabs the seal’s hind flipper and lifts it off the ground, forcefully pouring beer down its throat.
Before the video cuts, the accomplice can be seen hoisting the seal into the air and smashing it brutally against the boat’s deck.
The two perpetrators in the video were identified as Mark Van Der Heever and Marius Tredoux after the footage went viral in June of 2018, and the two appeared in the Laaiplek Magistrate’s Court in the West Coast town of Velddrift on several occasions.
The pair appeared in the Laaiplek Magistrate’s Court again on July 8 2019 and face the possibility of being slapped with a five-year prison sentence or being charged with a fine of R5-million for contravening the Animal Protection Act as well as the Biodiversity Act, as the Cape Fur Seal is a protected species.
Both Van Der Heever and Tredoux pleaded not guilty, and their lawyer has argued that the video evidence used during in the court’s investigation was unlawfully obtained.
A witness named Abrie Bester was called forward and claimed that he had accidentally received the video showing the two perpetrators torturing the seal via Bluetooth. The defendants’ lawyer, Advocate Le Roux, stated that the video should not be allowed as evidence.
Bester said that he was enjoying a drink at a local bar when he overheard Tredoux and Van Der Heever boast about how the two of them had beaten a seal up. He claimed that he only received the file because he had his Bluetooth on as the two sent the file to another friend of theirs.
Bester later shared the video to his personal Facebook because he was very upset by the video.
After it was revealed that Bester had aided authorities in identifying that it was Van Der Heever and Tredoux who tortured the seal pup, his pets were all poisoned and died as a result. Bester, however, could never tie the deaths to the pair.
According to Bester, he received the video because he and Tredoux had previously shared files with one another on Bluetooth and their phones were already “paired”. He also claims that received the video in January 2018, but only shared it months later.