AS IT HAPPENED: #VanBreda trial postponed until 2018 for closing arguments

2017-11-29 10:00

With neurologist Dr James Butler excused from the stand in the ongoing trial of triple murder accused Henri van Breda, the defence has finally concluded its case and the trial is postponed until February 12, 2018.

- For the latest updates, follow News24 reporter Tammy Petersen: @TammyPetersen87

WATCH LIVE: Henri van Breda trial: Day 63 


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Last Updated at 15:16
29 Nov 12:20

Judge Desai concludes by thanking everyone, "supporters and reporters" in the court, and wishes everyone well until the trial resumes next year. 

29 Nov 12:19

Court is in session once again, briefly.

Judge Desai: "This case regrettably now is postponed, it's postponed until the 12th of February, 2018. But it's only the argument that will be heard on that day and then maybe a short adjournment thereafter for judgment, which may be a few weeks after that." 

Judge Desai: "Mr Van Breda your bail is extended until the 12th of February, 2018." 

29 Nov 12:12

29 Nov 11:58

Court adjourns for five minutes. Judge Desai is expected to schedule closing arguments for both counsels when he returns after the short break.

29 Nov 11:57

"Thank you doctor," Desai says, as he concludes his line of questioning, and excuses him from the stand. 

29 Nov 11:55

29 Nov 11:55

Desai: "Is the best time to make a diagnosis not at the time of the incident?" 

Dr Butler: "Correct, but not always possible." 

Desai: "Your diagnosis comes two and a half years later, in the middle of a trial, a controversial makes your diagnosis, difficult."

29 Nov 11:51

29 Nov 11:51

Advocate Botha completes his questioning. Judge Desai now asking Dr Butler to clarify a few things. 

29 Nov 11:49

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29 Nov 11:42

Dr Butler: "I have the biggest database" of patient notes in the country. 

29 Nov 11:42

29 Nov 11:38

29 Nov 11:38

Advocate Galloway concludes her cross-questioning. Advocate Botha now posing questions to Dr Butler. 

29 Nov 11:37

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29 Nov 11:30

The definition of "malingering" according to Psychology Today. 

"Malingering is pretending to be sick when you aren’t or pretending to be sicker than you are, particularly when you have something to gain." 

29 Nov 11:25

29 Nov 11:24

Judge Desai asks Dr Butler if he is qualified to comment on psychiatric aspects of case. 

Dr Butler: "I would have to defer to a psychiatrist, but it overlaps with some patients we see, who are psychotic." 

29 Nov 11:21

Dr Butler argues once again that Van Breda's behaviour is not consistent with someone that is possibly malingering. 

29 Nov 11:20

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29 Nov 11:16

Dr Butler: "I would argue, as I've said in my report, that the incontinence is of profound significance in this case." 

29 Nov 11:12

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29 Nov 11:08

Advocate Botha objects to Advocate Galloway's line of questioning. 

29 Nov 11:06

29 Nov 11:06

Advocate Galloway going through a possible timeline of the murders, as presented to the court. 

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29 Nov 10:56

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29 Nov 10:46

Dr Butler: "I was asked by Advocate Galloway to keep my answers short..." 

Advocate Galloway commences cross-questioning. 

29 Nov 10:44

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29 Nov 10:40

Dr Butler starts by saying he would like to clarify some things before continuing with cross-examination. Brings up the topic of sleep deprivation once again. 

29 Nov 10:38

Court is now in session. 

29 Nov 10:13

29 Nov 10:01

Unlikely Van Breda concocted story – expert 

It was unlikely that Henri van Breda would be able to concoct a story of what transpired in his family's luxury home the night his parents and brother were hacked to death if he had suffered an epileptic seizure, a neurologist testified in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Defence lawyer Advocate Pieter Botha asked his expert Dr James Butler if the triple murder accused could have fabricated a coherent, lucid version of events to police, which mostly remained consistent.

Earlier this month Butler diagnosed Van Breda with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy after the 23-year-old said he had suffered a seizure while at home with his girlfriend.

He said if Van Breda had suffered a seizure the day of the murders as suspected, it was not likely that he would be able to give a consistent fabrication of events as it would involve a working and functioning memory and involve elaborate planning. 

29 Nov 10:01


Neurologist initially suspected Van Breda of faking illness 

The neurologist who examined Henri van Breda following a reported seizure earlier this month considered the possibility that the triple murder accused was malingering, he told the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Dr James Butler, the accused's sixth witness, however eventually concluded that there was compelling evidence that Van Breda had had an epileptic seizure on the night of the axe attacks, and that the possibility of malingering, or pretending to be ill, was so unlikely it "can effectively be disregarded".

Butler earlier this month diagnosed Van Breda with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy after the young man accused of killing his parents and brother; and severely injuring his sister underwent tests at Mediclinic Constantiaberg. 

29 Nov 10:01


'I want to get on with my life', judge says after another postponement in Van Breda trial 

Judge Siraj Desai on Tuesday warned that he wanted the Henri van Breda murder trial completed by the end of November, after the defence requested a two-week adjournment to finalise their last two witnesses.

"I want to get on with my life," Desai told defence advocate Pieter Botha, who asked that the matter stand down until November 27 for reports and consultations with his last two experts. 

Neurologist Dr James Butler is expected to testify on the two hours and 40 minutes during which Van Breda claimed to have passed out.

Butler, over the weekend, diagnosed the triple murder accused with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, which the State believes could explain this.

29 Nov 10:01


Henri van Breda spends weekend in hospital after seizure 

Triple murder accused Henri van Breda spent the weekend undergoing tests at a Cape Town hospital after he had a seizure on November 8, his defence lawyer told the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Advocate Pieter Botha told Judge Siraj Desai that the neurologist who treated Van Breda diagnosed him with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

The condition most commonly presents during childhood and, according to "hallmark characteristics… are the presence of myoclonic jerks that occur on awakening from sleep either in the morning or from a nap", typically described as shock-like, irregular and arrhythmic movements of both arms.

"Sometimes these movements are restricted only to the fingers, making the person look clumsy or prone to dropping things," it stated. 

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