Trial for 7 suspects of Hein de Jager murder postponed


Three Days Too Short For High Court De Jager Murder Trial Monday 6 September 2010 By Cynthia Dreyer, Madibeng Pulse:

The trial of the seven suspects in the 13 March 2008 execution-style murder of 28-year-old Pretoria North businessman Hein de Jager has been scheduled May 9 – May 20 2011 in the Pretoria High Court. An eighth suspect has already died of natural causes meanwhile…

De Jager Hein 28 Pretoria North murder 13March2008 by seven attackers

MadibengPulse spoke to one of the investigating officers, Captain Simon Tswai of the Shoshanguwe Trio Task Team, who explained why the trial had been postponed once again.

The seven suspects targeted two businesses simultaneously: the Moot Building Supplies and the next door Dreiers Hardware in Pretoria North on 13 March 2008. They shot 28-year-old Hein de Jager, one of the owners of the family business, in the back even though he was holding up his arms in surrender. Then they forced Hein de Jager’s assistant Mrs Hester Potgieter to empty the safe before fleeing in two vehicles, a green Nissan Sentra and a Run X. As a result of information from the community, three of the suspects were arrested the next morning and the two vehicles impounded. Two suspects have been out on bail ever since. The murder weapon and Hester Potgieter’s handbag with her ID inside were recovered at the same time.

“There were not enough days set aside in court for the trial,” Captain Tswai of the Shoshanguwe Trio Task Team told MadibengPulse on Friday following news of the postponement. “Everyone was in court but the judge decided that this was one of the biggest trials on the court roll and needed far more time in the Pretoria High Court. He has postponed the dates to the period 9 to 20 May next year. This will give us two weeks in court.” On 26 April the case was postponed to 1 September because of the congestion of the court roll.  Captain Tswai confirmed that all but two of the suspects and the witnesses were in court last Wednesday. There is still one suspect at large the seventh one has died of natural causes and he says he believes the postponement could give detectives the opportunity to reel in the missing suspect…

One of the suspects was out on bail  — and also due to stand trial in Nelspruit for various serious crimes. Another suspect, a convicted killer who is serving 45 years at Sonderwater Prison for murder, armed robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm for which he was previously given bail, will remain at Pretoria Central Prison. Another of the suspects, the driver of the Run X, was arrested in March exactly two years after the heinous crime after a tip off by members of the public. One more of the suspects died in the meantime of natural causes so Constable Tswai says that when the final arrest is made, all seven suspects will be accounted for.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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