Murder co-accused fears for his safety

2013-06-10 20:59
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Cape Town - Two brothers accused of killing Dr Louis Heyns have been threatening a third co-accused, the Somerset West Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

Juan Liedeman, 37, said in a bail application affidavit that he had received threats from Marthinus van der Walt, 33, and Sarel van der Walt, 42, before and after his arrest on 30 May.

Heyns, a University of Stellenbosch medical professor, went missing on 22 May.

His body was found in a shallow grave in Strand two weeks ago.

His car was tracked to Liedeman's Malmesbury business, which performed panel-beating, spray-painting and engineering services.

Liedeman revealed that Sarel van der Walt used to work for him.

He said he confronted Van der Walt because he believed he was stealing from the business and summarily dismissed him.

The threats apparently started soon afterwards.

When the three were transferred to Pollsmoor Prison a week ago, Liedeman said he received further threats from the brothers.

He told his family, who contacted his lawyer, William Booth.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was then informed.

Liedeman said he feared for both his life and that of his wife and two young children.

"They have certain contacts in prison who can harm me," he said in his affidavit, which Booth read out.

Schedule six offences

The court heard on Monday that a decision was recently made to charge Liedeman with both robbery as an accessory after the fact, and defeating the ends of justice - schedule six offences.

It was the State's belief that Liedeman dismantled and destroyed parts of Heyns's car by burning them, while hiding others in a tanker on the premises.

Because of the schedule of the charges, Booth had to prove exceptional circumstances existed to warrant his client's release on bail.

The court heard Liedeman was not a flight risk, was well-respected in the community, and the sole provider for his family.

In his affidavit, he said his wife was unemployed, he was paying maintenance for a daughter from a previous relationship, and financially supported his retired parents.

Besides his main business, he owned eight shops in the area, which he rented out monthly.

Should he not be granted bail, his business would likely have to close down, affecting him and his staff.

Booth said his client was shocked to hear the owner of the car sold to him had been robbed and killed.

Previous conviction

Liedeman had a previous conviction for negligent driving many years ago, but said he should be considered a first offender.

His wife, also in an affidavit, detailed the trauma the family had been through since her husband's arrest and said his continued incarceration would "extremely prejudice" them.

She maintained Liedeman was an honest, law-abiding citizen and not a danger to society.

The court heard on Monday that the police's investigative team allegedly assaulted the brothers.

Their lawyer Henk Carstens applied to the court for a district surgeon to examine them, as he claimed the prison doctor was not available.

The application was denied.

The court, however, allowed the brothers to return to prison while Liedeman conducted his bail application, so they could see a doctor.

Carstens said Marthinus van der Walt had injuries all over his body.

He was also apparently probed and shocked with an "electric object".

The lawyer further claimed Sarel was beaten up and had pains in his head, which made it difficult for him to concentrate.

He was also allegedly probed and shocked.

The brothers apparently made statements to police after their arrests, which Carstens referred to as "confessions".

The lawyer was unsuccessful in a bid to get access to these statements or to a video of the brothers making the statements.

Read more on:    npa  |  louis heyns  |  cape town

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