Van Breda mur­der case ex­pert thinks out the box

Cape Argus - - NEWS - The­olin Tembo

CAP­TAIN Mar­ius Jou­bert, the blood­stain ex­pert in the Van Breda trial, drew a lot of at­ten­tion in the Western Cape High Court when he climbed out of the wit­ness box to ex­plain his an­swer about the mark on the wall where Henri said he had thrown the axe.

Henri van Breda’s de­fence coun­sel‚ Piet Botha, grilled Jou­bert about his ear­lier tes­ti­mony when he had stated he be­lieved the im­pact on the wall to have been part of the stag­ing of the scene.

Botha re­peat­edly lobbed ques­tions at Jou­bert, ask­ing him if he knew the force that was ap­plied when the axe was thrown, and if he knew the other vari­ables in­volved when Henri threw the axe. Jou­bert ad­mit­ted: “We don’t know.” How­ever, the wit­ness stated that, judg­ing by the blood­stains, spat­ter and cast-off, he still stood by his opin­ion.

“Tak­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence, I can def­i­nitely say in my opin­ion that the axe was not thrown,” the wit­ness said.

While fur­ther query­ing the vol­ume of blood around the axe mark on the wall, Botha re­vealed that his ex­pert wit­ness had used his own blood to con­duct his own tests be­fore he con­sulted with the lawyer.

The re­veal drew a sur­prised re­ac­tion from ev­ery­one in the court.

Jou­bert con­ceded that they didn’t know the amount of blood on the mur­der weapon when the im­pact on the wall was made.

The ad­vo­cate and blood­stain ex­pert were at fur­ther log­ger­heads in a bat­tle of medicine ver­sus foren­sics re­gard­ing the po­si­tion­ing of Henri’s brother Rudi’s body.

Ear­lier in the week Jou­bert had tes­ti­fied that Rudi had been dragged or moved af­ter be­ing axed, as blood started to clot be­fore he was moved to the bed­room floor. Jou­bert also stated that he did not be­lieve Rudi was mo­bile af­ter the at­tack.

Botha ar­gued against this as he re­vealed, ac­cord­ing to his other ex­pert wit­ness, Dr Reg­gie Peru­mal, it was pos­si­ble that Rudi may have been alive for over two hours af­ter the at­tack.

Jou­bert strongly dis­agreed, say­ing the blood pat­tern would show if he had been mov­ing. He said blood flow pat­terns had sig­nif­i­cant value on the po­si­tion and move­ment of the body.

Jou­bert said that in re­gard to the in­jury Rudi had sus­tained, and his as­sess­ment of the scene, he could not agree with Peru­mal.

Botha also pre­sented that it wouldn’t have made sense for Henri to move the body. In Henri’s plea ex­pla­na­tion, he said he saw Rudi be­ing at­tacked on the bed. Botha ques­tioned why Henri would have moved Rudi, which Jou­bert said was the only vic­tim who had been moved. “I can’t tell you why Rudi was moved,” Jou­bert said.

“The per­son could have been an­gry to­wards him, and still wanted to take it out on him.”

Jou­bert added he didn’t be­lieve the scene was “staged”, but that it was an­other per­son who had moved Rudi’s body rather than the vic­tim mov­ing on his own.

Jou­bert will con­tinue giv­ing ev­i­dence dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion on Mon­day.

Henri van Breda stands ac­cused of killing his brother Rudi, fa­ther Martin and mother Teresa. His also faces a charge of the at­tempted mur­der of his sis­ter Marli.


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