Heyns murder accused may face trial-within-a-trial
CONFESSIONS made by two brothers, accused of the murder of Stellenbosch academic Dr Louis Heyns, are expected to be challenged when the case goes to trial in the Western Cape High Court.
This emerged in the high court yesterday during the pretrial conference of the brothers, Marthinus and Sarel van der Walt, and their co-accused, Malmesbury businessman Juan Liedeman.
It was the first time the case was called in the high court since the body of Heyns, an academic and Tygerberg paediatrician, was found buried in a shallow grave in Strand on May 30 last year – about a week after he went missing.
His vehicle, a Peugeot 308, was found at Liedeman’s business premises in Malmesbury. It had been cut up and the parts had been destroyed.
Liedeman faces a charge of robbery as an accessory after the fact, and another charge of defeating the ends of justice, while the Van der Walt brothers have been charged with robbery and murder.
It is alleged that Liedeman tried to dismantle Heyns’s stolen vehicle – sold to him by the brothers – to destroy and conceal evidence.
In court yesterday, State advocate Samantha Raphels told Cape Judge President John Hlophe that the brothers, who are both in custody, were not present because they had been taken to the Somerset West Magistrate’s Court instead of the high court in the city centre. Judge Hlophe was told that there was a likelihood that trials-within-a-trial would be held in connection with the confessions and a scene pointing-out.
He warned the defence, however, to watch footage of both the confessions and the pointing- out, and to take proper instructions to determine whether a trial-within-atrial was necessary.
The case was postponed to February 7 for another pre-trial conference.
IN THE DOCK: Malmesbury businessman Juan Liedeman at the Western Cape High Court, where he faces charges after the murder of Stellenbosch doctor Louis Heyns.