Andre van Wyk, the former school friend of murdered teenager Anika Smit who handed himself to police six years after she was viciously murdered in her home, has been referred for mental observation.
Pretoria North Magistrate Pierre Wessels referred the 24-year-old Van Wyk to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital for mental observation to determine if he could be held accountable for his actions, if suffered from any mental illness or defect and if he was able to understand and contribute to court proceedings.
Van Wyk will be held in the hospital section of the Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria, where former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is an inmate.
Prosecutor Tanya Carstens said if Van Wyk was incapable of understanding court proceedings and something happened where he acted without understanding the wrongfulness of what he was doing, it would be best for him to be incarcerated at a place where medical assistance was available immediately.
“It is for his own safety and in the interest of justice that he be held at the hospital section,” she said.
Carstens said the state would oppose bail, but Van Wyk’s advocate Corrie Nieuwenhuys said he had no instructions to apply for bail at this stage, and agreed it was in his client’s best interest to be referred for mental observation.
Nieuwenhuys at first wanted Van Wyk to be held at the police cells in Pretoria North, but said he accepted that there was no space available.
The case was postponed to October 25.
The 17-year-old blonde schoolgirl’s father Johan Smit discovered her naked body in their home in Theresa Park when he came home on March 10, 2010.
She had been sexually violated, had stab wounds and her hands had been chopped off. Her hands were never recovered.
The Grade 11 pupil at the Hoërskool Gerrit Maritz in Pretoria was at home with an ear infection that day.
Although Van Wyk has not yet been asked to plead to the charges, Magistrate Pierre Wessels gave permission that his name could be used, saying it was in the public interest to end speculation, as several other persons had been identified as suspects in the past.
A formal inquest into the schoolgirl’s death was postponed indefinitely to await the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
Anika’s former boyfriend Nico Venter, who was at one stage arrested in connection with the murder, and another former school friend Damian Treeby, at whom fingers were also pointed, have both expressed relief that someone has finally come forward in connection with the gruesome killing.