Hen­ning ‘hired sleuth’ to tail slain wife

R5m bail sought in drive-by mur­der case

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - VALESKA ABREU

MUR­DER ac­cused Nico Hen­ning al­legedly hired a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor to tail his es­tranged wife, and paid a se­cu­rity com­pany to in­stall covert cam­eras in her house.

This emerged in the Pre­to­ria Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day, where Hen­ning is seek­ing bail.

He ap­peared be­fore Chief Mag­is­trate Des­mond Nair on a charge of mur­der of his es­tranged wife, Chanelle Hen­ning, who was gunned down by two men on a mo­tor­cy­cle in Novem­ber 2011.

Yes­ter­day State ad­vo­cate Ger­rie Nel ar­gued that Hen­ning had failed dis­mally to prove the ex­is­tence of ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances per­mit­ting his re­lease, while his de­fence ar­gued that they had sat­is­fied all the re­quire­ments.

Nel charged that Hen­ning was a dan­ger to so­ci­ety, would at­tempt to evade his trial, and would in­ter­fere with ev­i­dence.

Nel put it to the court that dur­ing an al­ter­ca­tion with Chanelle’s mother, Sharon Sain­cic, he al­legedly told her in Afrikaans “you know what I’m ca­pa­ble of ”. It was fur­ther men­tioned that Hen­ning had gained the rep­u­ta­tion of “if I can’t have it, no one will”.

“We fur­ther ar­gue that he will con­ceal ev­i­dence as he did so be­fore, tak­ing items rel­e­vant to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion away from his homes and busi­ness be­cause he an­tic­i­pated a search by po­lice,” Nel said.

The court heard about a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor and se­cu­rity com­pany be­ing hired to spy on Chanelle.

“The ap­pli­cant ac­quired the ser­vices of a se­cu­rity com­pany to in­stall covert cam­eras in her house il­le­gally. This proves he had no re­gard for her pri­vacy and would go to any lengths to keep an eye on her do­ings,” Nel said.

While the cam­eras were never in­stalled, Chanelle was mon­i­tored and her cell­phone records also il­le­gally ob­tained.

“It is my hum­ble sub­mis­sion that the ap­pli­cant had no re­gard for the law, will at­tempt to evade his trial, and has at present no ev­i­dence be­fore this court of any ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances that per­mit his re­lease,” Nel said.

Hen­ning’s de­fence coun­sel, ad­vo­cate Piet van Wyk SC, sub­mit­ted that Hen­ning had no as­sets out­side South Africa, was him­self a lawyer and so an of­fi­cer of the law, and would there­fore com­ply with his bail reg­u­la­tions.

Fur­ther, he said, Hen­ning was will­ing to pay R5 mil­lion in bail, R100 000 of which would be a cash pay­ment al­legedly from his brother. The other R4.9m would serve as an as­sur­ance to the court.

Should Hen­ning be granted bail and evade his trial, the court could then seize as­sets in his name to the value of the R4.9m.

Van Wyk ar­gued that the State’s case was based on a “sec­ond choice” tes­ti­mony by a “mur­derer, per­jurer and un­re­li­able wit­ness”.

“He is look­ing for some­one to take the blame for his crimes in an at­tempt to se­cure a lesser sen­tence. He al­ready sub­mit­ted two tes­ti­monies be­fore the high court. He has changed his mind twice on the ver­sion of events re­lat­ing to the crime, why won’t he do it again?

“The State’s case is weak,” he charged.

Hen­ning will spend a few more nights in a po­lice cell await­ing the out­come of his bail ap­pli­ca­tion, af­ter the mat­ter was post­poned to Tues­day.

PIC­TURES: THOBILE MATHONSI

AC­CUSED: Nico Hen­ning, the hus­band of mur­dered Chanelle Hen­ning ap­pears in the Pre­to­ria Mag­is­trate’s Court.

VIC­TIM’S PAR­ENTS: Sharon and Ivan Sain­cic, Chanelle Hen­ning’s mother and step­fa­ther.

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