State should be careful about letting Marli van Breda testify against brother - lawyer

Cape Town - The State should think carefully about allowing Marli van Breda to testify against her brother, Henri, in his murder case, a lawyer not involved in the matter believes.

Ulrich Roux, from BDK in Johannesburg, told Netwerk24 that the defence would target Marli’s retrograde amnesia.

"The big question is whether she would regain her memory, and that would cast doubt on her testimony. How can she be sure of what happened that night?" Roux said.

Henri, 21, is accused of murdering his parents, Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and his brother, Rudi, 22, in their house at the luxury De Zalze Estate outside Stellenbosch on January 27, 2015.

Marli, 17, survived, but suffered brain damage. It is still unclear if she can remember anything about the attack.

She is on the list of 114 possible witnesses on the list to testify against Henri.

- Read more: Marli a possible State witness in Van Breda case

Roux believes the prosecution, advocates Susan Galloway, and Megan Blows, would not have to rely heavily on Marli’s testimony, as there was enough other evidence.

He expects the State to build its case around circumstantial evidence.

"DNA test will have to connect the murder weapon to the accused without any reasonable doubt and the crime scene has to be properly analysed."

According to Eikestadnuus, the murder weapon is an axe weighing 4.5kg.

- More: How the Van Breda family members were killed

"The call he (Henri) apparently made to his girlfriend after the murders will be an important piece of the puzzle. It could be damning."

Roux expects the prosecution to put the spotlight on Henri’s alleged drug abuse to cast doubt on his version of events.

The weak spot in the State’s case seems to be the absence of direct evidence.

"It is similar to the recent Oscar Pistorius case. Only the accused can tell us what really happened," Roux said.

"But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a case. If circumstantial evidence is presented properly and the DNA tests can link the accused to the crime, the lack of direct evidence won’t have a great influence on the case. We will just have to wait and see."

Louise Buikman, SC, Marli’s curator, did not respond to a request for comment on Marli’s possible testimony in court.

- Read more: 8 things you should know about the State's case against Henri van Breda

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