Lone rugby murder accused to take the stand

2014-11-12 13:16

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Durban - Blayne Shepard, accused of beating a former Royal Marine to death at a Super XV rugby match last year, is set to take the stand in a bid to clear his name.

Shepard made a brief appearance in the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday where he faces a charge of murder.

The State closed its case against Shepard last week and his advocate Christo van Schalkwyk told Magistrate Trevor Levitt he would be calling witnesses to give evidence when the trial resumed on 8 December.

Shepard was originally charged along with his older brother Kyle, Andries van der Merwe, and Dustin van Wyk for the fatal beating that killed Williams on the night of 23 March 2013, after the Sharks beat the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby match.

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.

However, last week the four men's counsel applied for a discharge under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, arguing that there was insufficient evidence against their clients and that the State had failed to prove who delivered the fatal blow.

Handing down his ruling, Levitt agreed that the State's case against the four had been "hamstrung by the evidence given by the witnesses".

He also believed that while the evidence was not present, Kyle had played a bigger role in the events that unravelled that night.

"I am uneasy about this decision. I come to the conclusion I have not heard the full story. I believe accused number two [Kyle Shepard] to have been more involved than what meets the eye," he said.

All charges against the four men were discharged, with the exception of the murder charge that Shepard has to defend himself against.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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