No evidence against man accused of killing wife on wine estate - lawyer

2017-03-10 13:02
Johan du Toit  (Denzil Maregele, Die Burger)

Johan du Toit (Denzil Maregele, Die Burger)

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Cape Town - Charges should never have been pursued against a man accused of killing his wife on a wine estate in Franschhoek in 2010, his lawyer argued on Friday.

"Even if one accepts circumstantial evidence is applicable in this matter, the State's case falls flat on its face," William Booth told the Paarl Regional Court, sitting in the Magistrate's Court.

He said there was no evidence against Johan du Toit and asked the court to drop charges against his client of his wife Chanel's murder.

The request comes almost seven years after his arrest.

Du Toit is alleged to have strangled his wife, Chanel, to death. Her body was found in the bedroom of their Franschhoek home on July 7, 2010.

Du Toit's mother found the body after her son apparently had called her on the morning of the incident, asking that she have a look at his house.

Du Toit later claimed he left the house at 02:00 in the morning to go hunting.

'They were a loving couple'

Booth said that everyone on the farm was aware of the trip planned about a week earlier.

"What came out was that they were a loving couple, they were about to start a family, that his wife had in fact packed food for him to take on the trip and that he was going to leave in the early hours of the following morning," he told Magistrate Joe Magele.

Police witnesses, he said, had testified about arriving to find the sliding door open, with marks on it, the bedroom and other rooms in disarray, the gun safe lying on the bed, and the firearm to one side.

A visit to the farm found it was open "to all and sundry on all sides".

"There is no security, no fencing, the roads run right into Franschhoek, and the river runs right through."

This could only point to an intruder who gained unlawful entry to the house.

Booth said there was no history of any violence or animosity in the marriage.

Minor cuts

A medical examination found minor cuts on Du Toit's body.

"The doctor conceded they were related to his work on the farm. Was this some kind of attempt to say there was an altercation and therefore a physical fight between the accused and his wife?"

The calculations and methods used to determine the time of death were inaccurate and could not be relied upon, Booth argued.

Nothing could be made of his client's words to his parents.

"I would be very surprised after his wife has passed away for him to not be in an emotional state.

"Words become meaningless to establish some kind of admission, if that is what it is, that he had anything to do with his wife's death."

In summary, Booth said there would be no point in his client giving testimony.

"He is not here to supplement the State's case."

The trial continues.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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