All eyes on axe murder trial
Ruling on live broadcast
THE focus of the world’s media will once again be trained on our country’s courts as yet another sensational murder trial gets under way.
Henri van Breda, 22, accused of killing his parents and his elder brother in January 2015, will stand trial in the Western Cape High Court for the attacks which took place at the family’s luxury De Zalze golf estate in Stellenbosch.
His younger sister, Marli, who was critically wounded in the attack, but survived, is touted as one of the prosecution’s lead witnesses.
Van Breda and his dead brother, Rudi, were former students at Australia’s Scotch College, before the family’s return to South Africa in 2014.
The bloodied bodies of his father Martin van Breda, his mother, Teresa, and brother Rudi, were discovered on the night of January 2015, hours after neighbours allegedly heard raised voices in the house.
The three had been hacked to death with an axe.
Van Breda handed himself over to police in June last year, nearly a year-and-a-half after the murders.
Police confirmed he had been charged with three counts of premeditated murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.
The latter charge stems from allegations that he fed police false information.
Before the trial got under way today, Judge Siraj Desai, who is presiding over the matter, first ruled on whether the trial would be broadcast live after an application from several journalists and media organisations on Friday.
The judge granted the application with conditions. He ruled that the exhibits may not be photographed or recorded and also said the media would not be allowed to photograph or record Marli without prior consent.
The discussion about the media live streaming the trial was expected to take place after the tea adjournment.
Before his arrest, Van Breda first told police that his family was attacked by an axe-wielding intruder and claimed to have been a victim as well. He is on R100 000 bail. Marli reportedly had her neck slashed during the attack. Her testimony and those of other witnesses is expected to be key in the case against her brother.
In September last year, Van Breda was arrested relating to a separate charge of alleged drug possession. He and his girlfriend are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on April 11. He is on R1 000 bail for this charge.