Sharks ban Marine beaters
Kings Park (Gallo Images)
Durban - The three men acquitted of murder in connection with the fatal beating of a former Royal Marine will not be allowed to watch rugby matches at Kings Park.
Novashni Chetty, public relations manager for the Sharks, said in a statement on Wednesday that Kyle Shepard, Andries van der Merwe and Dustin van Wyk would not be allowed to attend matches despite the fact that they were allowed to walk free from the Durban Regional Court on Friday last week.
"The Sharks reserve the right of admission to our stadium.
"There is no clear indication that any one of the three men made any attempt to stop the fight. For that reason, they will not be welcome into our family environment at Kings Park," said Chetty in her statement, issued in response to a query as to whether the three would be allowed to attend.
The three, along with Shepard's brother Blayne, each faced a charge of murder, three of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, one of crimen injuria, and one of public violence.
The charges were in connection with a brawl that led to the beating that killed Brett Williams on the night of March 23, 2013, after the Sharks beat the Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby match.
Following their arrest last year, one of the conditions of their bail had been that they were not allowed to attend any rugby matches at Kings Park.
However, last week the four men's counsel applied for a discharge under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, arguing that there was insufficient evidence against their clients and that the State had failed to prove who delivered the fatal blow.
Handing down his ruling, magistrate Trevor Levitt agreed that the State's case against the four had been "hamstrung by the evidence given by the witnesses".
He also believed that while the evidence was not present, Kyle Shepard had played a bigger role in the events that unravelled that night.
"I am uneasy about this decision. I come to the conclusion I have not heard the full story. I believe accused number two (Kyle Shepard) to have been more involved than what meets the eye," he said.
All charges against the four men were discharged, with the exception of the murder charge that Blayne Shepard has to defend himself against.
Earlier on Wednesday, Blayne Shepard made a brief appearance in the Durban Regional Court.
The State closed its case against him last week and his advocate Christo van Schalkwyk told Levitt he would be calling two witnesses to give evidence when the trial resumed on December 8.
Van Schalkwyk said Shepard would be one of the witnesses to take the stand in a bid to clear his name.