Brothers, Michael and Sarel van der Walt, and their co-accused, Juan Liedeman (not pictured), are accused of killing Stellenbosch professor, Louis Heyns. File picture: Adrian de Kock

Cape Town - A third pre-trial conference has been scheduled in the Western Cape High Court for three men accused of murdering Stellenbosch University Prof Louis Heyns.

Brothers Marthinus, 33, and Sarel van der Walt, 42, appeared at their second pre-trial conference in court on Friday, together with Malmesbury businessman Juan Liedeman, before Judge President John Hlophe, who scheduled the third conference for March 7.

Prosecutor Samantha Raphels told the court she was in talks with the defence team. She did not indicate whether these were aimed at a plea-bargain agreement.

William Booth, for Liedeman, told the court he was not happy about the fact that Liedeman had been joined as the third accused in the case. He said he hoped to reach an agreement with the State about this, and that his second option would be an application for a “misjoinder”. Such an application, if successful, would see the charges against Liedeman withdrawn.

The paediatric professor went missing on May 22 last year, after leaving Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville. His body was found in a shallow grave at the Strand, near Gordon's bay, on May 30.

The brothers allegedly hijacked Heyns as he left the hospital, robbed and murdered him, buried his body in the shallow grave, and then delivered the hijacked car to Liedeman's premises in Malmesbury.

Liedeman was allegedly found in possession of the car, and faces charges of possession of stolen property, being an accessory after the fact in the murder, and defeating the ends of justice.

On the charge of being an accessory after the fact, he allegedly received the car from the brothers, knowing what had happened, he kept it on his premises, and failed to notify the police. He was released on R20 000 bail.

At his bail hearing, he said the older of the two brothers used to work for him, but was dismissed on suspicion of theft from the business. Since the dismissal, he had received threats from both brothers, Liedeman alleged.

The brothers are charged with murder and robbery.