AS IT HAPPENED: Court considers Henri's statement revealing grammatical errors

2017-05-29 10:03

The Van Breda murder trial continued at the Western Cape High Court, where Henri van Breda's initial statement was assessed, revealing numerous language and spelling errors.

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Last Updated at 09:43
29 May 15:30

29 May 15:29

29 May 15:29

29 May 15:10
Court adjourns, with Andre du Toit - Henri's uncle - to testify in the morning.

29 May 15:10
Henri apparently saw the spelling and language errors but didn't take it further as he wanted to leave as quickly as possible. Malan says he went through the statement on screen, it was printed and Henri signed.

29 May 15:06

He also didn't give an exact height for the attacker, only said that the person was taller than him, Botha says.


29 May 15:04
Botha says Henri told Benecke of a second person, but that this hadn't been included in his statement.

29 May 15:03

Botha says Malan's verson is not correct in terms of what Henri told him. 

Where the statement refers to specific times, he didn't give times and that Benecke had asked him about times by estimating, Botha says.


29 May 14:50

Botha says his client gave his own height, and said the suspect was slightly taller.

Malan maintains that this is what Henri told him.


29 May 14:50
Henri said the suspect slightly taller than him, Botha says, but Malan entered that the suspect was 1.86m tall.

29 May 14:46
He says the words were as he understood it. Malan is Afrikaans speaking.

29 May 14:44
Henri's statement has not yet been admitted as evidence. Only sections which are mentioned during cross examination may be reported, Desai says.

29 May 14:36
Botha puts the question to Malan again. Desai tells Botha he is not allowed to bully a witness. Tells him to question him with due courtesy.

29 May 14:32
Tuesday 27 January 2015 - one entry reads that he returned to the crime scene. Malan says it was an error.

29 May 14:26
A copy of Malan's pocket book has been obtained.

29 May 12:35

29 May 12:30

29 May 12:24

Asks him about how he recalled the times of his interaction with Henri. Malan says he had to look in his pocket book.

He says the administrative section has it. Botha asks for copies, Malan says he will supply it to the court. 


29 May 12:19

Botha asks Malan to look at the statement of his actions that day.

Taken September 2015.

Why wait so long? Botha asks. During investigation he was asked to do it, Malan says.


29 May 12:17

Was anything given to him to eat? No, Malan says.

He says Henri didn't ask for anything.


29 May 12:16

He was asked to sign, but before signing he asked if he needed a lawyer. Malan ostensibly asked 'Why? Are you guilty? Malan denied this.

When Malan was done, he left the room, and Henri left to join his family.

Henri's statement was certified.


29 May 12:15

Botha asks Malan if after he finished the statement, if he gave Henri an opportunity to read it on the PC.

Botha asks Malan if after he finished the statement, if he gave Henri an opportunity to read it on the PC. Yes, Malan says. Henri says he saw there were language and spelling errors, but he wanted to go home and just signed it.

Malan says he printed it and that is the version Henri read.


29 May 12:09

Malan says he may have typed incorrectly.                        

Spelling and language errors only.


29 May 12:08
Botha says if there was a recording, these are the words we would hear. Malan says yes.

29 May 12:06

'All of us was' - Botha points out in paragraph 3.

His client says this was definitely not English he would use, Botha says.

Malan says there are errors. Botha asked if he paraphrased. Malan says he was objective, used every word Henri gave. He never added his own words.


29 May 12:05

Refers to statement, Botha says there is a number of spelling and language errors.

Malan confirms there are spelling errors.


29 May 12:03

If it's not a witness, and it's an accused, it could be relevant whether the person has alcohol or drugs in it.

That's correct, Malan responds.


29 May 12:00

Botha says it would be strange to draw blood of a witness.

To check for drugs or alcohol. Malan says it would be.


29 May 11:59

Henri was asked if he had taken any drugs before the murders. Malan says he doesn't know of this.

Dr Van Zyl said she was told by two officers that night that Henri was alleged accused.


29 May 11:57

Henri's statement taken at 2:20. Malan confirms this.

He can't remember if Henri gave his version of events more than once.


29 May 11:57
Malan says he doesn't know of this.

29 May 11:56

Henri later arrived at the Reade-Jahn's home dressed in the board shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. Malan says he doesn't know.

Bianca van der Westhuizen's (who Botha calls Henri's then-girlfriend) mother had bought it for him.


29 May 11:56
Malan says this is not true.

29 May 11:55
Botha says clothes were given to Malan (board shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt) while he was typing Henri's statement.

29 May 11:55

He says Henri wore a t-shirt from Dr Albertse's room to the police station.

Botha says Mr Du Toit and his wife were the only family members at scene. They say they didn't give him long pants.


29 May 11:54

Malan says he didn't ask Henri that.

Malan says his task had been to take his statement.


29 May 11:52

Benecke was also at scene that morning.

Apparently asked Andre du Toit how the family's relationship was. Du Toit said it was good, suspects he may had wanted to know if there was an arrangement.


29 May 11:52
Henri says Benecke asks why he didn't help his brother when attacker attacked him with the axe. Henri became emotional, cried. Malan says it could have happened when he wasn't present.

29 May 11:50
Henri claims that Benecke said 'Marli was telling them everything', asking if his version would be the same as hers. Malan says he has no knowedge of this. 

29 May 11:48

29 May 11:43

29 May 11:22
Tea break.

29 May 11:22

Botha says Henri made it clear that he had heard another person, although he saw only one. Malan says he didn't mention another person.


29 May 11:17

Botha says he told Benecke that he had only seen one of the attackers, and had heard others. Malan says Henri only mentioned one.

Botha says he said he had only seen one. Malan says he never spoke of other people in the house.


29 May 11:16
Henri says during the repeating of his version, there were occasions where he wasn't sure of things like times. Col Benecke would then suggest and ask if it could be 03:00. Malan says Benecke asked the time, and asked what had happened. Henri gave all the details himself.

29 May 11:14

Was he asked to repeat his version? Not the whole version, Malan says. If Colonel had questions, he was asked about it.

Malan was instructed to take the statement.


29 May 11:11

Malan says Benecke introduced himself and said he was going to ask him some questions.

Malan says he wasn't warned of his rights because it wasn't necessary. He was seen as a victim.


29 May 11:10

Benecke described by Henri as a big man, saying he didn't introduce himself, just poured a Coke, said 'I dont believe a word of your bullshit story'.

Malan said he didn't hear that.


29 May 11:09

Malan says the office wasn't cold.

The windows were open, Malan says.

He doesn't know if there is air-conditioning in Benecke's office.


29 May 11:08

Botha says while sitting there, he was given cigarettes and allowed to smoke.

At one stage an officer came with food and drinks for officers, and he was given a Coke. Then taken to another office, Col Benecke's, says the aircon was set on cold.

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