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15-year-old tortured at camp to turn 'boys into men'

Publish date: 25 July 2014
Issue Number: 3561
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: In Court

The murder case of 15-year-old Raymond Buys who had attended a three-month course at the Echo Wild Game Rangers camp in 2011, designed to turn 'boys into men', is still wending its way through the criminal justice system.

He died after being allegedly tortured by his fellow camp-goers at the behest of camp owner Alex de Koker. Allegedly beaten with hoses, chained to his bed, burnt, starved and then forced to eat his own faeces, Raymond's stay at the camp was the stuff of nightmares, notes a report in The Mercury. Raymond was one of three teenagers who died at the military-style camp. For three years, the murder case has been slowly continuing in the Vereeniging Regional Court, and only this week did the state finally complete its evidence against De Koker and one of his disciples, Michael Erasmus. Erasmus, who was 18 at the time of Raymond's stay, and De Koker have been charged with murder, child abuse and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Yesterday, De Koker took the stand to testify how Raymond had died, painting himself as a caring camp counsellor who had no idea why the young man would inflict many of his injuries on himself. Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)