The severe injuries of an emerging Brits farmer – allegedly murdered by a local businessperson and his son – were consistent with a car accident involving a pedestrian and not an assault, the High Court in Pretoria has heard.
Professor Gert Saayman, a specialist forensic pathologist, gave the evidence in the trial of North West building contractor Schalk Myburgh and his son Schalk Jnr, who have pleaded not guilty to murdering Brits farmer Marsha Mavula in December 2015 by severely assaulting him and driving over him with their bakkie.
They admitted confronting Mavula, who they suspected of being a stock thief, but insisted they had fled from the scene in fear of their lives after he attacked them and had no idea how he sustained the injuries that killed him, although Myburgh Snr admitted falling on top of Mavula.
The North West principal medical officer said in her autopsy report Mavula had sustained 48 rib fractures, a ruptured liver and lungs, had massive bleeding on the head and had died of multiple blunt force injuries.
Saayman criticised the doctor for not doing further investigations where there was a big divide between the history of assault and the victim’s injuries, which indicated that he had died as a result of being involved in a road accident, probably as a pedestrian.
The pathologist said he had examined the bodies of thousands of victims of road accidents and assaults and the nature and pattern of Mavula’s injuries described in the report were typical for a road accident victim, but there were no obvious injuries to suggest a sustained assault either with a blunt object or heavy blows with fists or kicks.
He said the doctor did not record the shape, size and weight of the deceased, made no mention of his clothing or lack of clothing, did not measure his blood alcohol level and took no photos during the autopsy to show the nature and extent of the injuries, which was critical because it compromised justice.
The trial will resume next week.