WATCH |Tensions rise as key witnesses, digital data complicate Terblanche murder case

Tensions flared as explosive remarks were exchanged between murder accused Arnold Terblanche’s legal representative, Peter Dauberman, and state prosecutor, Advocate Marius Stander during Terblanche’s appearance in the Gqeberha High Court today.

Terblanche and his co-accused Reinhardt Leach face allegations of involvement in the murder of Vicki Terblanche, who was Terblanche’s estranged wife and Leach’s girlfriend when she died.

What started as a pre-trial conference quickly escalated into a heated exchange of legal arguments.

The court appearance took an unexpected turn as Adv. Stander declared that the state was not prepared to proceed due to outstanding digital data issues and the need for legal representation for numerous state witnesses.

“The main issue with the digital data is the volume of the digital data. We had to find a reader, and we have managed to secure a reader,” Adv. Stander explained before the court.

Advocate Stander also highlighted that some state witnesses had expressed a desire for legal representation. Furthermore, in one instance, a witness who initially secured legal representation, decided to sever ties with their lawyer.

During the courtroom exchange, Peter Daubermann, Terblanche’s defense attorney, voiced his frustration over the three-year investigation period that the state has taken to build its case against his client.

Daubermann criticised Adv.Stander’s handling of the case. “He does not want to bind himself because he has not finished his case,” Daubermann argued.

Daubermann complained that numerous emails stemming from 2023, were ignored by Adv. Stander. Daubermann also expressed his frustration over incomplete police dockets and the missing digital data, which required a reader.

He pointed out, “he had three years to get a reader. He comes today, and we were supposed to hold a pre-trial. You are telling me the state could not acquire a reader in all this time?”

In response to Daubermann’s arguments, Advocate Stander countered that Daubermann’s comments were unfair.

Stander emphasised that accusing the state of misconduct was unjustified, especially considering that only one side of the story was being presented.

Adv. Stander argued that he would be defeating the ends of justice if he did not communicate with at least two essential witnesses – these witnesses being Terblanche’s domestic cleaner, Sharon Yelani, and Terblanche’s daughter, Natalie Nel.

Adv. Stander said in court that Yelani ”trampled over the crime scene for two days,” and this is an indication of the importance of her presence in the investigation.

He added that Terblanche’s daughter, Natalie Nel, would also be a key witness.

Following a brief recess, Judge Bulelewa Pakati stated that the case will be postponed to Friday, May 10, for the state to provide a list of the possible section 204 witnesses. 

As previously reported by the PE Express, Terblanche and Leach face allegations of involvement in the murder of Vicki Terblanche, who was Terblanche’s estranged wife and Leach’s girlfriend when she died.

Her remains were discovered in a shallow grave in Greenbushes in October 2021.

A third individual, Dylan Cullis, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after confessing as part of a plea agreement with the state.

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