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The State and defence are in discussions in an attempt to “shorten” the trial of three men who are facing charges relating to the murder of Stellenbosch academic Louis Heyns.

Brothers Marthinus and Sarel van der Walt appeared in the Western Cape High Court for the first time on Friday.

They appeared briefly along with their co-accused, Malmesbury businessman Juan Liedeman, for a pre-trial meeting.

While the two brothers face robbery and murder charges, Liedeman faces a charge of robbery as an accessory after the fact and another charge of defeating the ends of justice.

The body of Heyns, a Tygerberg paediatrician, was found in a shallow grave in Strand on May 30, about a week after he went missing.

In court, prosecutor Samantha Raphels said they were in discussions to consider ways of “shortening of the trial”. The State needed one more pre-trial meeting before it could proceed.

Attorney William Booth, representing Liedeman, objected to his client’s case being joined with the other two as he was not charged with murder.

It is alleged that Liedeman, the only one of the three out on bail, tried to dismantle Heyns’s stolen vehicle – sold to him by the brothers – to destroy and conceal evidence.

Booth said he would apply for Liedeman’s trial to be separated from that of the Van der Walt brothers.

Judge President John Hlophe postponed the case to March 7 for another pre-trial meeting.

In a separate case that came before Judge Hlophe on Friday, two men appeared over the killing of schoolboy Glenrico Martin, 18, who was shot in the head in May while entering the premises of Spes Bona High School in Athlone.

The court heard that the defence for Wilston Stoffels, 18, and Jevon Snyman, 19, were in discussions with the State with a view to plea bargains.

The trial was postponed to February 28.

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Cape Times