Cape doctor's alleged killer fails to get charge scrapped

2015-05-14 14:16
Dr. Louis Heyns

Dr. Louis Heyns

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Cape Town - An application to have a charge of kidnapping dropped against Dr Louis Heyns’s alleged killer was unsuccessful in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning.

Gert Fourie had tried to convince the court that there was no prima facie case showing that his client Marthinus van der Walt, 34, had forcefully taken Heyns to a bushy, sandy spot between the sea and Beach Road in Strand, in May 2013.

Judge Andre le Grange said that Heyns’s wife had testified this week that he had a very busy schedule and that there was no reason for him to be at a spot notorious for male prostitution, because she was sure of their marriage.

Fourie replied that her testimony was not enough to secure a conviction of kidnapping because it was circumstantial evidence.

“His relationship with his wife doesn’t take it far enough… he is loyal, he is busy, what does that mean?” Fourie said.

Le Grange said it was his job to weigh up the evidence provided by both witnesses and the accused. At this stage, the accused had yet to testify.

The defence’s application was dismissed.

Not guilty plea

Van der Walt has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, kidnapping and murdering the paediatrician.

He claimed in his plea explanation that he hit Heyns with his fist and kicked him but did not intend to kill the doctor. After discovering that Heyns was dead, he tied his hands and feet and took his car.

Heyns’s body was found in a shallow grave in the sand, near a putt-putt course in Strand.

A forensic pathologist testified on Wednesday that he died due to blunt trauma involving the head, neck, chest, abdomen and extremities, with contributing manual and ligature strangulation.

Van der Walt sat emotionless in the dock, wearing a tracksuit top, cargo shorts and takkies. Just metres away sat the doctor’s wife and children, who have been in court every day for the trial.

In a surprising turn earlier on Thursday morning, the State decided to close its case instead of calling the accused’s brother Sarel.

Prosecutor Samantha Raphaels did not state why he would not be called but did reveal that she was making him available as a witness to the defence.

Plea bargain

Last year, 43-year-old Sarel van der Walt pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the murder and theft. He reached a plea bargain with the State and is serving a seven-year-sentence, with the understanding that he would testify as a State witness.

A third suspect, Malmesbury businessperson and scrapyard owner Juan Liedeman, pleaded guilty to a charge of not having reasonable cause to believe the stolen car was properly acquired. Louis’ car was found by police in his possession.

He also entered a plea bargain and sentencing agreement and was handed a R10 000 fine or five years behind bars. Half the fine and sentence were suspended.

Van der Walt’s trial would resume on Monday, when the defence was expected to call its first witness.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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