S.African who spilled drink on Zuma treated like 'murderer'

30th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A South African racehorse owner who was convicted of assault for spilling a drink near President Jacob Zuma says he has been treated "like a murderer," local media reported Saturday.

"It was an accident," Daryl Peense told the Saturday Star of the incident at last year's Durban July, the country's largest horse race, when he spilled his drink over the president.

"I understand the seriousness of the matter -- if it were true -- but I feel like I am being treated like a murderer."

Peense admitted in Durban Magistrate's Court that he spilled his drink as Zuma passed below his balcony, but said it was an accident caused by people pushing to get a view of the president.

However, one of Zuma's bodyguards told the court he saw Peense deliberately pour a tumbler of whisky and water over the president's head, missing him only because an alert guard used his jacket to shelter Zuma.

Peense, who testified that he was drunk at the time, was found guilty Wednesday. He faces sentencing on September 7.

"I am not sure if we will appeal if they sentence me harshly," he said.

"I have already spent over 100,000 rand ($15,000, 10,400 euros) in legal fees. I would have to raise funds for an appeal. All I pray now is no jail time."

Prosecutors have said Peense, who is currently out on 500 rand bail, will likely be handed a fine.

© 2011 AFP

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