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

Juan Liedeman, 38, entered a plea and sentencing agreement with the State in the Western Cape High Court on a charge of not having reasonable cause to believe the car was properly acquired.

He initially faced a robbery charge but prosecutor Samantha Raphels amended the charge sheet.

“I would like to briefly add that it is technically not a possession of stolen property charge. A person who receives a stolen item may not be aware of it at the time... but we admit that it was indeed a stolen item,” said his lawyer William Booth.

“This is one of negligence and he didn't make the necessary enquiries as to who the lawful owner was.”

As per the agreement, Judge President John Hlophe sentenced Liedeman to a R10 000 fine or five years' imprisonment. Half the fine and sentence were suspended for five years on condition that he not be convicted of a related offence in this time.

Liedeman would thus pay an effective fine of R5000.

He appeared alongside co-accused brothers Marthinus and Sarel van der Walt.

Hlophe granted a separation of trial and the brothers would remain in custody until their trial on October 6. The brothers have been charged with 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 the Strand the same month. - Sapa