PLEA and sentencing negotiations between the state and three of 10 men charged with illegal pitbull fighting in Plettenberg Bay failed, the Knysna Regional Court heard yesterday.
Defence attorney John Gillespie, acting for Billy Marais, Anthony Blake and Ferdinand Endemann, said on the advice of an advocate his clients had rejected an offer from the state and would stand trial with their co-accused in February next year.
Marais, 23, a former chef, Blake, 41, also of Plett and Endemann, 40, of Somerset West, were not in court and a warrant for their arrest was held over.
The other accused are Donald Wall, 37, of Victoria Park in Port Elizabeth, Rudi Wall, 51 of Queenstown, Peter Wall, 45, also of Queenstown, Owen Butler, 37, of East London, Yorick Grobbelaar, 30, of East London, Anton van Blerk, 41, of East London and Johannes Joubert, 43, of Johannesburg.
All 10 accused are out on bail of R1500 each and their attorneys indicated they would possibly call their own expert witnesses and veterinarians.
The men were arrested in May last year at Marais's rented home on a smallholding in Ladywood outside Plettenberg Bay.
According to Southern Cape police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie, KwaNokuthula police were alerted to the fight by the public and along with animal anti-cruelty organisations they raided the spot after breaching a locked gate.
Organised pitbull fighting is big business, with the puppies of champion fighters easily fetching more than R10000.
Money is also generated through high-rolling bets, with individuals putting down up to R2000 per fight.