Stellenbosch doctor's murder case to resume

2015-05-17 19:37

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Cape Town - The defence for a man accused of killing Dr Louis Heyns is expected to call its first witness in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Marthinus van der Walt, 34, has pleaded not guilty to hijacking, kidnapping, and murdering the paediatrician in May 2013.

On Friday, the trial took a surprising turn when the State decided to close its case instead of calling his brother Sarel, 43, as a witness.

Last year, 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 currently serving a seven-year-sentence, with the understanding that he would testify as a State witness.

Prosecutor Samantha Raphaels did not say on Friday why she was not calling him to the stand, but told Judge Andre le Grange that she was making Sarel available to the defence as a witness.

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

Marthinus van der Walt claimed in his plea explanation that he hit Heyns with his fist and kicked him but did not intend to kill the doctor. He took his car after discovering that Heyns was dead.

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

A third suspect, Malmesbury businessman 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 reportedly suspended for five years on condition that he not be convicted of a similar crime.

Read more on:    louis heyns  |  cape town  |  crime

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