'Sunday Rapist' feared torture - lawyer

2012-07-25 18:36
Jaco Steyn (File, Sapa)

Jaco Steyn (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The "Sunday Rapist" was forced into making an incriminating statement, the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Alberton heard on Wednesday.

"If he did not play along he would have been tortured," Anton Lerm, for Jaco Steyn, told the court.

Lerm questioned investigating officer Peet du Toit during a trial within a trail on the admissibility of a statement made to a magistrate in Krugersdorp.

Lerm said Du Toit promised Steyn if he made a statement and pleaded guilty, he would receive a short trial.

Du Toit replied: "Your honour, that is totally false."

Steyn is accused of murdering school girls Louise de Waal and Lazanne Farmer.

He is also charged with 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping and two of assault.

The 11 girls he allegedly attacked between 2008 and 2011 were all between 11 and 18 years old.

The 36-year-old pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges against him on Monday.

Lerm said Steyn was promised the trial would go away quietly.

"That's absurd, how could I let the case go away quietly? It already had national coverage," Du Toit said.

Wanted him to escape

Lerm asked why Steyn was only brought back to Krugersdorp a day after he handed himself over in Margate in KwaZulu-Natal on 13 October last year.

Lerm said en route his client was left in an idling police vehicle with weapons inside.

He argued this was done to provoke Steyn to escape. Du Toit denied knowledge of this.

Du Toit testified that Steyn phoned him the day after De Waal's murder from Margate and said he tried to commit suicide.

Du Toit told him to hand himself over at the nearest police station and not meet halfway as Steyn had suggested.

Lerm argued that Du Toit told Steyn he should go to a police station because he would be shot by police if found.

Du Toit said this was untrue; he never said Steyn would be shot, he handed himself over willingly.

Lerm said the police docket and what Steyn should say to the magistrate were discussed with him beforehand.

Steyn feared he would be tortured if he did not co-operate.

Du Toit denied this.

"I find that totally absurd. He had a smile on his face [when he was brought in]. He was cool and calm. He greeted everyone by hand... He was not nervous. He said he wanted to clear his heart and was glad it was over."

Pulled over

Captain Martin Smith was recalled and corroborated Du Toit's testimony.

"The accusations that the accused are making didn't happen before me."

Warrant officer Andre van der Mescht was the last witness called to testify on Wednesday. He was one of the officers who drove Steyn from Margate to Krugerdsorp.

He testified that they didn't speak to Steyn and only stopped for petrol and once for food.

He said they were pulled over at a toll gate by police and asked who they were and where they were going. The conversation took no more than five minutes.

Asked by the State to explain why Steyn was only taken to Krugersdorp the day after he handed himself over, Van der Mescht said they had been working the day and the night before.

They then drove to Margate.

"It would have been very irresponsible to drive directly back with the accused."

The trial was postponed for cross-examination and the conclusion of the trial within a trial on Thursday.
Read more on:    jaco steyn  |  lazanne farmer  |  louise de waal  |  johannesburg

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