Heyns murder case postponed for 7 days

2013-06-06 20:31


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Cape Town - The State is entitled to a seven-day postponement in the case of three men held for crimes against slain Dr Louis Heyns, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Thursday.

Judge Siraj Desai said the law allowed for the Somerset West Magistrate's Court to agree to the request for this postponement.

He said the State was fully entitled to proceed at a "steady pace" in a case as serious as this one.

"The magistrate [NB Magutywa] has not misdirected himself in any manner whatsoever. In no way can it be said that the prosecution has conducted itself in any matter for a reversal of his decision," Desai said.

He dismissed an urgent application brought by Juan Liedeman, one of the accused, to review the magistrate's decision to postpone the case until Monday.

Liedeman, 37, had wanted the matter immediately returned to the lower court so he could apply for bail this week instead of next week, as he believed he was not guilty of any serious crime.

Liedeman was charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances after Heyns's vehicle was found on his business premises in Malmesbury two weeks ago.

His co-accused Marthinus van der Walt, 33, and his brother Sarel van der Walt, 42, are charged with Heyns's murder.

The body of the Stellenbosch University medical professor was found in a shallow grave in Strand last week.


On Monday, the magistrate's court granted a seven-day postponement to allow the director of public prosecutions to decide under which schedule the crimes would fall.

It was revealed on Thursday that Liedeman was suspected of more than just possession of stolen property.

Western Cape deputy director of public prosecutions, Johannes Abraham Niehaus, said in an affidavit that Liedeman allegedly received help and information from a police officer.

"... After the applicant received the information from an officer in [the SA Police Service], the applicant proceeded to dismantle and destroy parts of the robbed vehicle," Niehaus said.

"Some parts were burned and other parts were discarded, and others hidden in a tanker on the premises of the applicant."

Niehaus submitted in his affidavit that these actions made Liedeman an accessory after the fact on the robbery charge, and that he had attempted to defeat the ends of justice.

"It is submitted that after the arrest of the applicant, the police recovered more evidence linking the applicant to the robbed vehicle that would have been lost if the seven-day postponement were not granted to the State," he said.

Schedule six offence

The State was of the view that the charge against Liedeman was a schedule six offence, which required him to prove that exceptional circumstances existed for his release on bail.

Desai ruled he would be doing the criminal justice system and the prosecution a great disservice if he interfered in the lower court's decision.

"There are all sorts of other evidence regarding the vehicle which may turn out to have some significance," he said.

Western Cape police revealed on Thursday that three more men were being questioned in connection with the crimes.

One of them was a police officer.

Spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said the men, between the ages of 22 and 29, were taken in for questioning late on Wednesday.

Read more on:    police  |  siraj desai  |  louis heyns

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