Another possible defence witness expected in Van Breda trial

2017-11-07 16:25
Henri van Breda. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Henri van Breda. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – Henri van Breda's defence team on Tuesday confirmed that it may call another expert witness to take the stand next week.

The 23-year-old pleaded not guilty to axing his parents, Teresa and Martin, and brother, Rudi, to death, seriously injuring his sister, Marli, and defeating the ends of justice.

A yet to be named psychologist has been approached to possibly testify when the trial resumes on Monday.

Advocate Pieter Botha, for Van Breda, said this followed a distinct line of questioning from the State and Judge Siraj Desai about the accused's failure to come to the aid of his family. The expert is also expected to give her opinion on whether Van Breda's behaviour was typical in the situation he claims to have found himself in.

Botha said he had asked the psychologist for answers to two questions in writing, which he would send to the State by Thursday.

Desai asked what weight one would attach to such evidence, and Botha responded that if the psychologist's answers don't carry much weight, he "won't waste the court's time".

Didn't see attack on sister, mother

Botha on Tuesday re-examined his client, who reiterated that he didn't know how and when the alleged attackers gained access to the Van Breda's De Zalze home.

Responding to questions, Van Breda said he didn't see the attack on his mother and sister and couldn't shed light on who had attacked Marli.

He told the court he had never witnessed any violent attacks in his life, and that he didn't believe the intruder had left the axe and knife behind voluntarily.

When asked who had the better grip on the axe handle during his alleged scuffle with the attacker, Van Breda said he thought he did as he had managed to get the axe out of the man's grip.

Botha further questioned the severity of Van Breda's injuries in comparison to those of the rest of his family.

"With what weapon were yours inflicted?" he asked.  

"With a knife," Van Breda responded.

A photo of the family's dining room table also showed a laptop and documents, which Van Breda said belonged to his father, who sometimes worked at the table while watching TV.

Blood on shoes

After Botha concluded his re-examination, Desai asked Van Breda about the shoes in which he stored his cigarettes at the foot of the stairs. Van Breda said he kept the cigarettes there to hide them from Marli.

"She wasn't supposed to know I smoke. My parents' rule was that it mustn't influence her," he said.

When asked about the blood on the shoes, Van Breda said he wore the shoes when he went for walks and they had been at the bottom of the stairs since the previous Friday.

He presumed that the blood was spatter from blood dripping into the carpet next to his shoes.

Desai noted that Martin could have gone around the bed to try and disarm the intruder when he entered the boys' room that night.

Van Breda said that if that had happened, he may have been able to help.

He alleged an intruder was behind the attack and that he had heard voices of people, speaking Afrikaans, in the family's home in January 2015.

Van Breda claimed that after a fight with the intruder the man escaped.

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