Investigation 'issues' delay Hannah Cornelius murder trial

2017-12-13 13:29
Stellenbosch University student Hannah Cornelius. (Supplied)

Stellenbosch University student Hannah Cornelius. (Supplied)

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Cape Town – The Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court has postponed the case of four men, accused of raping and murdering Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius, due to "issues" in the investigation.

Eben van Niekerk, Nashwill Julies, Vernon Witbooi and Geraldo Parsons appeared in court on charges of murder, kidnapping and rape, following the brutal attack on Cornelius and her close friend, Cheslin Marsh, in May.

The men remained silent throughout the court proceedings and simply nodded when they were informed that the case had been postponed.

They were accompanied by several armed police officers.

Prosecutor Lenro Badenhorst said he did not want to "go into detail" when he told the court that "issues" were causing the delay.

In November, the matter was postponed to give the State time to hand over the docket to defence attorney Henk Carstens. 

READ: Hannah Cornelius case to continue in November

Outside of the court, Carstens explained that he only received the docket on Wednesday morning. 

He said his clients first needed to be presented with the evidence against them to make an "informed decision" on their plea.

'Loose ends'

Technicalities, over whether the men would plead in the Magistrate's Court or the Western Cape High Court, also needed to be clarified, he said.

Magistrate Eric Khaketla postponed the case to January 25, saying the "loose ends need to be tied up". 

Cornelius’ body was found on the morning of May 27 on the side of a road, near a wine farm outside Stellenbosch.

She was last seen alive hours earlier, with Marsh, when four men approached her car in Bird Street, Stellenbosch. 

Her Citi Golf is believed to have been used in an armed robbery in Northpine, between Brackenfell and Kraaifontein, on the day of her murder. 

Police made their first arrests after a dramatic car chase.

The mother of one of the accused, Veronica Witbooi, previously told News24 that she believes her son was pressured into committing the murder.

"That morning he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was drinking with them [the other accused] and he doesn't even drink. He was intimidated to do it. He was intimidated," a teary Witbooi said outside the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s court in November.

Read more on:    hannah cornelius  |  cape town  |  crime

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