2 minute read
26 Jun 2014
12:41 pm

CTown car mechanic pleads guilty

A Cape Town car mechanic pleaded guilty on Thursday to unwittingly possessing the stolen car of slain paediatrician Dr Louis Heyns.

The pair had been charged with stock theft. Photo: Supplied

Juan Liedeman, 38 (CORRECT), entered a plea and sentencing agreement with the State in the Western Cape High Court, after receiving Heyn’s Peugeot from Marthinus van der Walt last May.

Van der Walt and his brother Sarel face charges of killing Heyns and robbing him of his car and other possessions.

Heyns, a University of Stellenbosch medical professor, went missing last May. His body was found in a shallow grave in Strand the same month.

In his plea, Liedeman said that when Van der Walt visited his car engineering and spray-painting business in Malmesbury, he did not have any registration papers or documentation for the vehicle.

The two agreed to R1000 and a carton of cigarettes until Van der Walt could produce the papers.

He admitted that he did not ask where the vehicle came from, how it had been obtained, or know for a fact that Van der Walt had been authorised to dispose of the car.

However, he was not aware that the car was stolen, was extremely shocked that Heyns had been murdered, and was not involved in this whatsoever.

Liedeman initially faced a robbery charge but prosecutor Samantha Raphels amended the charge sheet to one of not having reasonable cause to believe the property was properly acquired.

As per the agreement, Judge President John Hlophe sentenced Liedeman to pay a R10,000 fine or five years’ imprisonment.

Half of the fine and the sentence would be suspended for a period of five years on condition that he was not convicted of a related offence in this time. Liedeman would thus pay an effective fine of R5000.

Hlophe granted a separation of trial and the Van der Walt brothers would remain in custody until their trial on October 6.

Raphels said the trial would not take more than a month. In this time, two statements would be canvassed, at least two witnesses would testify, and medical evidence would be presented.

Liedeman was prepared to testify as a State witness against the brothers.

Raphels revealed that when she discussed the plea agreement with Heyns’s family, they had been a “little bit unhappy” with the sentence because they considered it to be light but understood why the State had entered into the agreement.

Heyns’s relatives attended proceedings on Thursday morning, as did Liedeman’s wife Karlyne.