Judgment in Van Breda leave to appeal expected

Judge Siraj Desai is expected to pass judgment in convicted axe murderer Henri van Breda's application for leave to appeal in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

During the previous court sitting, 23-year-old Van Breda's lawyer Pieter Botha said he faced a lifetime in jail "based only on circumstantial evidence".

Read: Youthful Van Breda faces whole life in jail based only on circumstantial evidence - lawyer

He said a court of appeal may come to different conclusions on facts.

Botha submitted that there was a realistic possibility, and not "merely an unlikely possibility" as found by the trial court, that unknown intruders could have gained access to De Zalze Estate that fateful night.

In June, Desai handed Van Breda three life sentences for the murder of his mother, father and brother, 15 years for the attempted murder of his sister and one year for obstructing the course of justice.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway previously said the court had correctly found there was premeditation.

She pointed out that, while the family was sleeping upstairs, Van Breda would have had to walk downstairs to the scullery to fetch the murder weapon, and then go upstairs.

Read more: OVERVIEW: Judgment reserved in the Van Breda leave to appeal application

There was also direct intent to kill because the axe was aimed at the head.

"Even if that evidence is not enough for premeditation, the facts and circumstances are enough that this would always have been a matter where the most severe sentence was applicable."

She accused Botha of nit-picking circumstantial evidence.

She said the court correctly found that not much weight needed to be afforded to the DNA.

"You could ignore the DNA altogether and come to the same conclusion," commented Desai.

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