Van Breda’s legal team gets tough
After a police investigation spanning 18 months, it was pressure from Henri van Breda’s legal team that compelled the state to finally arrest him.
Van Breda, who has been charged with murdering three family members with an axe and attempting to murder a fourth, was this week released on bail.
The decision to prosecute was taken on Monday in a meeting between the investigation team and advocate Adrian Mopp, deputy director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape.
As part of an agreement, Van Breda handed himself over that same day.
He was arrested on three counts of premeditated murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of defeating the ends of justice, for allegedly tampering with the murder scene.
Before his arrest, his legal representative, Pieter Botha, said he drew a line in the sand by telling the prosecution they had to make a decision because his client couldn’t carry on with this sword hanging over his head.
According to sources close to the investigation, the role players around the table on Monday decided they had to charge Van Breda “so that it couldn’t be said later that we didn’t do our jobs”.
Rapport, sister publication of City Press, reported earlier that the National Prosecuting Authority had sent the docket back to the police at least four times because they didn’t believe they had a strong enough case.
At one point there was even mention of an inquest so that a magistrate could determine whether anyone should be prosecuted, sources close to the investigation said. Criminal advocate William Booth says in cases like these where there is no direct evidence that Van Breda attacked his father Martin (44), mother Teresa (45), brother Rudi (22) and sister Marli (17) with an axe, the state has its work cut out. “It’s the duty of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and not Henri’s duty to prove or disprove anything,” says Booth. Van Breda’s explanation of an attacker who broke into the house only has to be reasonably possibly true to make the state’s case crumble, he says.
Henri van Breda