Evidence in marine murder case 'does not back conviction'

2015-03-26 20:56
(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - Poor witness testimony and medical evidence that contradicted testimony should not be used to convict the man accused of beating a former Royal Marine to death, the Durban Regional Court heard on Thursday.

Advocate Christo van Schalkwyk told the court none of the State witnesses had seen his client's stomping feet strike Brett Williams.

Van Schalkwyk was giving his closing argument in the trial of Blayne Shepard, who is accused of beating Williams to death outside Durban's Kings Park Stadium on the night of 23 March 2013, after the Sharks played the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby match.

"Had there been constant stomping, there must have been a mark [on Williams' body]. There was nothing," he said.

During the trial last year, several witnesses claimed there had been stomping and punching as a group overwhelmed security guards and assaulted Williams.

Shepard was initially charged with three others of killing Williams. A fifth, Grant Cramer, was initially charged with assault, but turned State witness.

The case against Andries van der Merwe, Dustin van Wyk, and Shepard's older brother Kyle was discharged in December.

They had each faced a charge of murder, three of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, one of crimen injuria, and one of public violence.

Magistrate Trevor Levitt ruled "uneasily" that the evidence against the three did not reach the required standards for a prima facie case against them, but that Shepard still had a case to answer.

Poor witness testimony

Van Schalkwyk said on Thursday the poor witness testimony had failed to implicate Shepard. In that instance the prosecution could only rely on medical evidence.

"The only safe haven is the medical evidence. There's nothing on the torso."

During the trial it was heard that Williams had a blunt trauma head injury, which could have been caused by a fall.

A number of witnesses said they had seen Williams falling. Cramer's then girlfriend Kirsten Cooper said in a police statement she had seen Williams' head strike a trailer.

Van Schalkwyk said it was disturbing that key evidence was not available. He lamented the lack of closed circuit television footage as well as the disappearance of the trailer against which Williams allegedly fell, and which was seen in photographs.

He said it was disturbing that a sample of blood taken from Williams disappeared after being sent to a forensic laboratory in Pretoria.

"This was an incident that was so gross, so extraordinary that it required all the original evidence," he said.

Prosecutor Krishen Shah urged Levitt to find Shepard guilty of culpable homicide, alternatively assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Levit will deliver his judgment on 29 June.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.