Henri has epilepsy, tests have re­vealed

Doc­tor who ex­am­ined him was to be a State wit­ness

Cape Argus - - NEWS -

TRIPLE mur­der ac­cused Henri van Breda spent the week­end at Medi­clinic Con­stan­tiaberg, where he was di­ag­nosed with ju­ve­nile my­oclonic epilepsy af­ter a se­ries of med­i­cal tests.

Yes­ter­day, de­fence lawyer Piet Botha told the Western Cape High Court that his client, 23, had a seizure on Wed­nes­day last week, was hos­pi­talised on Thurs­day and ex­am­ined by neu­rol­o­gist Doc­tor James But­ler. Ju­ve­nile my­oclonic epilepsy (JME) is an in­her­ited ge­netic syn­drome. Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, episodes are char­ac­terised by in­vol­un­tary mus­cle twitch­ing that do not usu­ally re­sult in the per­son fall­ing, “but rather drop­ping ob­jects. Other seizure types such as gen­er­alised tonic-clonic (GTCs) and ab­sence seizures can oc­cur.” It said gen­er­alised GTCs are usu­ally trig­gered by sleep de­pri­va­tion. On­set of the symp­toms usu­ally oc­curs be­tween ages 10 and 16, but can present in some pa­tients in their 20s.

The de­fence was to call a psy­chol­o­gist yes­ter­day, but pro­ceed­ings were post­poned to give her time to amend her re­port if deemed nec­es­sary, as she has not yet seen the neu­rol­o­gist’s re­port.

Judge Si­raj De­sai said eth­i­cal is­sues may arise, how­ever, as the neu­rol­o­gist, Doc­tor James But­ler, had been a po­ten­tial State wit­ness who was ul­ti­mately not called, but he had been con­sulted.

Judge De­sai will have to de­cide, af­ter lis­ten­ing to ar­gu­ments, whether he can be called. But Botha urged the court to call him as the doc­tor’s tes­ti­mony is “rel­e­vant to the 2 hours 40 min­utes”, a time lapse, that has been high­lighted in the trial.

Van Breda has pleaded not guilty to mur­der­ing his par­ents Mar­tin and Teresa, and brother Rudi. His sis­ter Marli, 16 at the time of the Jan­uary 2015 at­tacks, sur­vived.

Van Breda claims an in­truder, armed with an axe and knife, was be­hind the at­tacks. In his plea ex­pla­na­tion he said that in pur­suit of the at­tacker he lost his foot­ing and fell down the stairs. “I do not know what made me fall, but my fall was quite se­vere.”

Af­ter the at­tacker fled, he went up­stairs to the in­jured. “I lost con­scious­ness. I’m un­sure whether this was due to shock or to the in­juries when I fell down the stairs.” When he re­gained con­scious­ness he didn’t think he could help them.

SEIZURE: Henri van Breda

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.