‘He didn’t help fam­ily’

Van Breda smoked while while wait­ing for sis­ter to die, says pros­e­cu­tor

The Witness - - NEWS -

CAPE TOWN — Henri van Breda did not do any­thing to help his fam­ily af­ter they were axed in their De Zalze home three years ago and in­stead of help­ing his younger sis­ter, he “smoked three ci­garettes while wait­ing for her to die”, the West­ern Cape High Court heard yes­ter­day.

State pros­e­cu­tor Su­san Gal­loway ar­gued yes­ter­day that the at­tack was pre­med­i­tated, point­ing out that Van Breda would have had to arm him­self be­fore mak­ing his way to an­other floor of the house to ex­e­cute the at­tack.

Gal­loway, in her clos­ing ar­gu­ments, also crit­i­cised Van Breda’s de­ci­sion to take to the stand, say­ing the ul­ti­mate im­pres­sion he left was a poor one.

She ripped into Van Breda’s tes­ti­mony, say­ing he spoke in a su­pe­rior man­ner and tried to rea­son out his de­ci­sion­mak­ing and de­meanour.

There was no mo­tive for some­one, such as a hit­man, to go to the Van Breda home and com­mit this crime, she ar­gued.

The ac­cused was un­able to ex­plain why their lux­ury home at the cen­tre of the high se­cu­rity De Zalze Golf Es­tate was cho­sen; why the at­tack­ers went to so much trou­ble to ac­cess the house but not steal any­thing; left Henri — an eye­wit­ness — vir­tu­ally un­harmed or at­tack him so dif­fer­ently to the rest of his fam­ily, Gal­loway said.

He also could not ex­pound on why he first phoned his girl­friend — a 16year­old mi­nor liv­ing at a school hos­tel — in­stead of emer­gency ser­vices.

State ex­perts also found it likely that Van Breda’s in­juries were self­in­flicted, Gal­loway pointed out.

Judge Si­raj De­sai asked what in­fer­ences could be made from this, and Gal­loway ar­gued that it meant the to­tal­ity of Van Breda’s ver­sion could not be true if he will­ingly in­jured him­self.

Cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence pointed to Van Breda be­ing the at­tacker and that his in­juries were self­in­flicted or in­flicted by his fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing the at­tack, Gal­loway main­tained.

His lack of emo­tion and de­meanour fol­low­ing the at­tack ini­tially gave emer­gency call cen­tre op­er­a­tor Janine Phi­lan­der the im­pres­sion that it was a prank, she said, and was not con­sis­tent with some­one who was a vic­tim of crime.

She also asked why Van Breda did not men­tion that his brother — who had sus­tained the most se­vere in­juries — had been mak­ing gur­gling sounds and may still have been alive when he phoned for help.

Gal­loway also ques­tioned why two of Van Breda’s ex­perts did not take to the stand to counter the state ex­perts’ tes­ti­mony.

The de­fence did not call on the ex­pert ev­i­dence of a pri­vate foren­sic pathol­o­gist, Reg­gie Peru­mal, or bal­lis­tics ex­pert Cobus Steyl, de­spite both at­tend­ing trial pro­ceed­ings.

She said those who were called were not ob­jec­tive and were merely try­ing to test the state’s case by “rais­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties”, say­ing this does not com­ply with the du­ties of ex­pert wit­nesses.

She made spe­cific ref­er­ence to DNA foren­sic ex­pert Dr An­tonel Ol­ck­ers, who did not re­test DNA sam­ples as she said it was not part of her man­date.

Gal­loway ar­gued that the ex­pert opin­ion on Van Breda’s epilepsy was based on a back­dated di­ag­no­sis and should be con­sid­ered with cau­tion as it might be in­cor­rect.

Van Breda (23) pleaded not guilty to ax­ing his par­ents and brother to death, se­ri­ously in­jur­ing his sis­ter, Marli, and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

He al­leged that an in­truder, wear­ing a bal­a­clava, gloves and dark cloth­ing, was be­hind the at­tack, and that he had heard other voices, of peo­ple speak­ing Afrikaans, in the fam­ily’s Stel­len­bosch home in Jan­u­ary 2015.

Van Breda claimed that, af­ter a fight with the axe­wield­ing in­truder who was also armed with a knife, the man had es­caped.

The de­fence’s Ad­vo­cate Pi­eter Botha is ex­pected to present his clos­ing ar­gu­ments to­day. — News24.

PHOTO: JACO MARAIS

A newly shaven­headed Henri van Breda in court yes­ter­day.

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