2006-09-14 : 'Killer dad' gets bail

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2006-09-14 : 'Killer dad' gets bail

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2006-09-18 08:23

http://www.capetimes.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=3184

'Killer dad' gets bail
14/09/2006 07:25 - (SA)

Cape Town - A senior police officer who attempted suicide after allegedly shooting dead his children was granted R5 000 bail in the Blue Downs magistrate's court in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Superintendent Marius van der Westhuizen, 44, was granted bail because the prison authorities were unable to give him special food and medical attention.

Magistrate Gerald Hattingh said of all the facts placed before him, the inability of the authorities at Pollsmoor Prison to provide Van der Westhuizen with the food and medical attention he needed were the most important.

After shooting dead his son and two daughters, Van der Westhuizen turned the gun on himself, but he survived.

He gave her an ultimatum

The court heard that Van der Westhuizen and his wife, Charlotte, a captain, were based at the Kuils River police station.

The wife had been heavily engaged in police community outreach programmes, which demanded too much of her private time, which had upset Van der Westhuizen.

On the night of July 28, he had given his wife an ultimatum in which she had to choose between him and the children, and her job.

This led to a violent argument, and in the heat of it, Van der Westhuizen allegedly shot dead his three children, with each shot saying to his wife: "It was your choice."

The prosecutor told the court there would be community outrage if Van der Westhuizen were released on bail.

It could also lead to a further suicide bid, which would amount to an evasion of trial.

However, Hattingh agreed with defence attorney Milton de la Harpe that there were compelling and exceptional circumstances justifying Van der Westhuizen's release on bail.

The court also had to consider the assumption that Van der Westhuizen was innocent until proven guilty, and to refuse him bail would be to punish him without trial.

As part of the bail conditions, Van der Westhuizen has to move to family in Uitenhage near Port Elizabeth, and may not return to Cape Town except for medical attention, to consult his lawyer or to attend court proceedings.

The case was postponed to October 26.
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