Van Breda loses application, decides not to testify

2017-09-27 11:14
Henri van Breda arriving at court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Henri van Breda arriving at court. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town – Judge Siraj Desai has ruled that Henri Van Breda will testify first in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Act should he decide to take to the witness stand, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

The defence’s application to allow him to testify last was dismissed, with Desai ruling that he had not shown good cause why the court should deviate from standard procedure.

The defence applied for their expert witnesses to testify first before Van Breda’s version of what happened the night his parents and brother were murdered is tested.

AS IT HAPPENED: Van Breda will not testify amid dismissal of defence's application

Their reasons included that it made logistical and financial sense as their experts would have to be flown in and that it was unclear for how long Van Breda would testify if he chose to do so.

Advocate Pieter Botha, for Van Breda, said their witnesses would not testify on his client’s version, but on the evidence presented.

Botha during arguments said there were no eyewitnesses or direct evidence against his client and Van Breda wouldn’t be able to alter his evidence due to his plea explanation.

Tailor evidence

Desai, however, felt differently, saying the defence’s claim of the accused not being able to tailor evidence is not entirely correct.

“Nothing prohibits him from modifying or amplifying [it],” he said.

Should he not testify, Van Breda’s version given in his plea explanation will not be evidence before the court.

Following the ruling, Botha told Desai his client has decided not to take to the stand.

An application may, however, according to the Criminal Procedure Act, be made at a later stage for him to testify.

Desai in his ruling said the court may "draw inferences" should this happen.

Van Breda's experts include Reggie Perumal, a private forensic pathologist, who was part of convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius' defence team but did not testify in his trial.

Ballistics expert Cobus Steyl, a former police officer who, according to his website, primarily analyses firearms and tool marks, is also lined up. Steyl attended trial proceedings and assisted Botha during cross-examinations of State witnesses as well.

A yet to be named neurosurgeon would also be called by the defence to testify.

Two lay witnesses were also expected to take to the stand.

Van Breda’s first defence witness is expected to testify on October 9.

Read more on:    henri van breda  |  cape town  |  crime  |  van breda trial

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