No defence witnesses in Cape murder trial

2014-03-18 13:55
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Cape Town - Double murder accused Johannes Christiaan de Jager will not call any witnesses to assist with his defence, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

His Legal Aid lawyer Sakkie Maartens told the court their case was closed.

De Jager, 49, has pleaded not guilty to killing Mpumalanga teenager Charmaine Mare last January, and not guilty to raping and killing prostitute Hiltina Alexander in 2008.

He alleges Mare died in an accidental fatal fall in his bathroom and that he dismembered her body and set her torso alight in a panicked and shocked state.

Maartens wanted it placed on record that he had tried to get a forensic pathologist to testify on aspects related to the testimony of pathologist Celeste de Vaal.

De Vaal testified last year on Mare's burnt torso and decapitated limbs.

She concluded that Mare did not have any fatal head injuries and her death was due to an unknown unnatural cause.

Maartens said the Legal Aid board only worked with accredited experts.

He had approached three accredited forensic pathologist experts.

Two of them had severed their ties with Legal Aid and the third was not available.

"Enquiries were made on my behalf for an alternative option locally," Maartens said.

Local pathologists had either been unavailable or unwilling to assist him.

He said he had been trying to obtain an expert since November and did not anticipate a change in the situation.

It was in this spirit that he was closing the defence's case.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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