Mandela judgment delayed

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Judgment was reserved at the conclusion yesterday of Winnie Mandela's appeal against convictions for kidnapping and assault. The final word on whether she serves the six-year jail sentence imposed by her trial judge two years ago will be heard, lawyers estimated, within a month, John Carlin writes from Johannesburg. A bench of five judges at the appeal court, Bloemfontein, the highest in the land, heard yesterday from counsel for the state that sufficient evidence had been heard in the original trial to find that Mandela had acted to obstruct and defeat the course of justice.

The court, having accepted as common cause that on 29 December 1988 four young men were kidnapped and then assaulted at Mandela's Soweto home, and that later the youngest of the four, 'Stompie' Moeketsi Seipei, was murdered by Mandela's chief bodyguard, she could not escape blame, counsel argued.