Henri van Breda to only testify if he goes last - defence

2017-09-21 15:06
Murder accused Henri van Breda. (Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Beeld)

Murder accused Henri van Breda. (Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Beeld)

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Cape Town - If the Western Cape High Court does not agree to allow Henri van Breda to testify at the end of their case, he will not take to the stand.

This was, in essence, the argument made by Advocate Pieter Botha on Thursday during arguments for an application to grant its expert witnesses permission to present their findings before the triple murder accused’s version of events is tested.

He pointed out that the experts would not be testifying on Van Breda’s version, but on the evidence presented.

State prosecutor Susan Galloway, however, said allowing Van Breda to testify last means she may not be able to test what he says on his experts.

She pointed out that his plea explanation was not evidence before court.

Botha said he had not yet decided whether he would call his client to testify, but during his arguments and questioning from Judge Siraj Desai, he said he would not put Van Breda on the stand.

Desai then asked what he was arguing for, as this would make the application moot.

There were no eyewitnesses or direct evidence against his client and Van Breda wouldn’t be able to tailor his evidence due to his plea explanation, Botha said.

In addition, the defence argues that it made logistical and financial sense for Van Breda to testify at the end of his trial, as it was flying in and paying for experts who did not know when the accused would complete his testimony and cross-examination.

Van Breda's experts include Reggie Perumal, a private forensic pathologist, who was part of convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius' defence team but did not testify in his trial.

Ballistics expert Cobus Steyl, a former police officer who, according to his website, primarily analyses firearms and tool marks. Steyl also attended trial proceedings and assisted Botha during cross-examinations of State witnesses.

A yet to be named neurosurgeon would also be called by the defence to testify, Botha confirmed on Monday.

Two lay witnesses were also expected to take to the stand.

Desai is expected to give his decision on September 27.

Galloway, after the conclusion of the State's case on Monday, told Judge Desai that Van Breda's sister Marli, the only other survivor of the axe attacks, has asked that she not be made available to the defence.

READ HERE: Marli van Breda asks not to be made available to brother's defence team, court hears

She suffered retrograde amnesia and does not remember any of the events of January 27, 2015.

She was included on the State's witness list but was not called as she had not regained her memory.

Read more on:    henri van breda  |  cape town  |  van breda murders

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