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Tourist acquitted of Mountain fire charges

by Staff Reporter
on 18 Jan 2008
The Cape Flats Website
The Cape Flats Website

Anthony Cooper, the British National charged with causing a fire on Table Mountain on 26 January 2006, that allegedly resulted in the death of fellow British tourist Janet Chesworth, has been found not guilty.

Cooper earlier testified that, after walking on the mountain, he returned to his car to smoke a cigarette. He lit and smoked the cigarette while inside his vehicle as the wind was too strong to lit the cigarette outside. After lighting the cigarette, he remember a spark flying out of the half-open window, and later smelled the smoke of a veld fire.

He also testified that he attempted to kill the fire himself, and also to get assistance from guards in a nearby hut. He then called an emergency number for assistance.

On Thursday, Magistrate Wilma van der Merwe stated that she did not believe Cooper's version of the events, but this did not mean that it could not be true. She then had to give him the "benefit of a doubt" and acquitted him of both charges.


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