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Man in court for rugby assault

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The married father of two requested to be released, pending his next appearance

BAIL: Marcel van Vuuren (above) was granted R1 000 bail in the Kimberley Magistrates Court yesterday after he was charged for the attempted murder of an off-duty police pilot, Marc Engelbrecht (left). Pictures: Soraya Crowie

A MEMBER of the SAPS was hospitalised while the manager of a local business has been charged with attempted murder following an altercation in a hospitality suite at Tafel Lager Park on Saturday afternoon.

The accused, Marcel van Vuuren, 32, made a brief appearance in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday, when he was released on bail of R1 000, following an incident that left a 35-year-old police pilot, Marc Engelbrecht, who was off-duty at the time, in the high care unit of Mediclinic Gariep with extensive injuries to his head and face.

While Engelbrecht has no recollection of the altercation, which took place in the Bidvest Waltons suite following Griquas’ Currie Cup loss to the Blue Bulls on the weekend, Van Vuuren, a regional manager for the stationery suppliers, is due to return to court next month after handing himself over to police on Sunday.

“I really don’t know what happened,” said Engelbrecht in an exclusive interview yesterday afternoon. “One minute I was at the rugby and the next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital. I don’t know the person who did this to me.”

While X-rays had been taken, at the time of going to press yesterday, Engelbrecht, whose face is visibly swollen as a result of what relatives suspect to be a broken nose and jaw, was yet to receive feedback on the full extent of his injuries from his doctor.

Mediclinic spokesperson, Denise Coetzee, was able to confirm that he had suffered trauma to the head and face.

Meanwhile, Van Vuuren made a brief appearance in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court late yesterday afternoon and he was granted bail of R1 000 without opposition from the State.

In his affidavit, read into evidence by his legal representative, Riaan Bode, the married father of two requested to be released, pending his next appearance, as he pointed out that he had no previous or pending cases against him and was unlikely to evade trial for the schedule five offence.

In the statement, Van Vuuren also indicated that he had been fully co-operative with the police in their investigation, which is why he had decided to hand himself over to the SAPS on Sunday. In the absence of a criminal record and having confirmed his address, the State wasn’t opposed to Van Vuuren’s release.

The matter was postponed until October 1 for eyewitness statements and for a J88, listing the full nature and extent of Engelbrecht’s injuries, to be completed.