The Van Breda Family murders in Stellenbosch

schumi

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Henri van Breda: State argues it is unlikely intruders murdered family

CAPE TOWN – Henri van Breda’s murder trial has resumed, with the State arguing that it is highly unlikely that intruders broke into his family home and attacked his family.

Van Breda claims that an intruder murdered his parents and older brother, and attacked his younger sister at their Stellenbosch home in January 2015.

Closing arguments are being heard in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway has argued that it is highly improbable that intruders entered the De Zalze Estate, made their way to number 12 Goske Street, attacked the family, didn’t steal anything from the house, and fled the estate undetected.
More at: http://ewn.co.za/2018/02/12/henri-van-breda-state-argues-it-is-unlikely-intruders-murdered-family
 

schumi

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P3 - 'Henri smoked 3 cigarettes while waiting for Marli to die' – prosecutor


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 on Monday.

State prosecutor Susan Galloway argued on Monday 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 decision-making 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 and not steal anything; left Henri – an eyewitness – virtually unharmed or attack him so differently to the rest of his family, Galloway said.


Wounds 'self-inflicted'

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

State experts also found it likely that Van Breda's injuries were self-inflicted, 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.

"The version of an intruder loses all credibility," she said.

Circumstantial evidence pointed to Van Breda being the attacker and that his injuries were self-inflicted 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.


Defence experts 'not objective'

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 re-test 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 may 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 axe-wielding 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 on Tuesday.

News24
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/N...-waiting-for-marli-to-die-prosecutor-20180212
 

LiquidBinary

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Judge Desai is really having a go at Botha! Quite entertaining.

[video=youtube;YmnkcRIW_UY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmnkcRIW_UY[/video]
 

schumi

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State has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt – Van Breda defence

Cape Town - The prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that Henri van Breda axed his family to death in their De Zalze home three years ago, defence advocate Pieter Botha argued in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The onus was on the State to prove that his client had been the one who committed the triple murders and attempted to kill his sister, Botha said.

"But the evidence points the other way and at the very least creates reasonable doubt."

The prosecution had no eyewitness accounts or direct evidence, Botha pointed out, and its case was circumstantial.

"The State's case is that no one else could have committed the crimes, and the accused's version of other assailants is not reasonably true."

But Van Breda's version can only be rejected if it can be said "it is so improbable it can't be seen as possibly true".

Botha argued that the State had given the impression that the De Zalze Golf Estate was impenetrable, but Judge Siraj Desai countered that the argument was that it was so secure that it was unlikely that a third party could have gained access without the expertise "that Ocean's Eleven displays".

Botha said the onus was not on his client to prove that someone had not entered that night.

No evidence of an argument

He insisted that the DNA results could not be relied on, as defence witness Dr Antonel Olckers had found that standard operating procedures were only followed in the testing of 23 of the 151 samples.

When asked by Desai if he should reject the DNA evidence, Botha said it couldn't be relied on as it was not scientifically reliable.

He pointed out that the SAPS forensic science laboratory was not accredited, and that analyst Lieutenant Colonel Sharlene Otto had not passed a proficiency test.

Desai asked why the defence had not retested the samples, and Botha said he had made this call because retesting would have been too expensive and his client would have "been out of funds a long time ago".

Botha also said there was no evidence of an argument on the night of the murders, despite the testimony of neighbour Stephanie Op't Hof who said she heard raised voices coming from 12 Goske Street.

He maintained that she could only have been hearing Star Trek 2, which the Van Breda men had ostensibly been watching.

Witness accused of bias

He said video footage of the crime scene indicated that people had been sitting on the couch and a DVD was recorded as being next to the TV.

De Zalze security officer Edgar Wyngaard had also not heard any disturbance emanating from the Van Breda home and had been within 40m of the house during his patrols.

Botha said neither Henri nor Marli had told their respective girlfriend or boyfriend of any argument that night.

Op't Hof had also been unable to determine the language, how many people were involved, or what was being said, Botha said. He believed she had been biased.

This, he said, was displayed when she said she hadn't known at the time that Van Breda "was busy attacking his family" that night.

Botha also argued that the blood stains on Van Breda did not mean he was the attacker, as it only placed him in the immediate vicinity, corroborating his testimony.

The fact that no blood belonging to Teresa or Marli was found on his shorts also supported his version that he had not been close by when his mother and sister were attacked, Botha said.

Botha said the absence of Marli's blood on the axe, despite being hit with it eight times, showed there was a possibility that another weapon was used on her by a second attacker.

Axe-wielding intruder

Judge Desai questioned why someone would carry an axe to a home invasion, and Botha responded that gratuitous violence was rife in SA.

Allegations that Van Breda had tampered with the scene by moving the duvet, as well as Rudi's body, could be explained by pathologist Dr Daphne Anthony's testimony, when she conceded that Rudi was probably still able to move after the assault, even if not purposefully.

He may have pulled the duvet, Botha said.

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 axe-wielding intruder who was also armed with a knife, the man had escaped.

Botha also argued that his client made a very good witness and his version had remained consistent from the start.

He will continue with his closing arguments on Wednesday.

News24
https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/...d-reasonable-doubt-van-breda-defence-20180213
 

LiquidBinary

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schumi

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No evidence that an unknown assailant was not behind attack on Van Breda family – defence

Cape Town - The totality of the evidence against Henri van Breda did not exclude the possibility of an unknown assailant, defence advocate Pieter Botha argued in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

This was the "crisp question" for the court to decide - whether the State produced evidence which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that there were no unidentified attackers responsible for the triple murders and attempted killing of Marli, Botha said during day two of his closing arguments.

The evidence makes the presence of an outsider, not only a reasonable possibility, but a probability, he said.

In his heads of argument, Botha pointed out that, not all the hairs collected could be linked to the Van Bredas, and all identifiable fingerprints lifted at the scene were not accounted for in terms of the people who had responded to 12 Goske Street.

He said 216 samples were collected at the house for DNA analysis and, although no unknown DNA was found, this only related to 155 samples reported on.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway previously said that all were analysed, but those which do not give results – such as a suspected blood droplet on a door which didn't contain human DNA – were not reported on.

Blood spatter evidence against a boundary wall, presumably emanating from the boys' room during the attack on Rudi, could also indicate it was created by an object, containing his client's brother's blood, moving close to the wall.

Galloway said blood spatter expert Captain Marius Joubert had said these droplets most likely came from the boys' room, through the window, during the attack on Rudi.

His client's two stab wounds were also not consistent with self-inflicted injuries, Botha argued, saying it begged the question: Who stabbed Henri?

Rudi, Botha said, had probably been asleep when he was hit, the attack on Martin was unexpected and there was no suggestion that Marli or Teresa had stabbed him.

Galloway said two expert witnesses were of the view that the stab wounds may not have been considered as self-inflicted on their own, but in context, they were more likely to be self-inflicted.

The absence of Marli's DNA on the axe head indicated that the only reasonable explanation for this was, if she was attacked with another weapon. This object, he said, had never been found, increasing the probability of the presence of a second assailant, he said.

Galloway, however, countered that Joubert testified that, in order to create blood spatter, a blood source is necessary, which would form when the person is hit repeatedly in the same spot or in very close proximity.

Marli, she said, was hit at six different places and the axe was already covered with blood, which may have impacted on the transfer.

Considering that Van Breda had been wearing sleep shorts and socks at the time of the attacks, Botha questioned why none of his DNA was found on his family members.

Galloway said this was an anomaly, but added that the "absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence".

"Uncontroverted" expert evidence also showed the De Zalze perimeter fence alarm was triggered at 01:37 and 03:36 the morning of the murders and could have been caused by unauthorised entry or exit to the estate, Botha argued.

Galloway said that witness testimony had indicated these triggers were caused by dips in power to the fencing. There was no evidence of unlawful entry, she insisted.

Judge Siraj Desai said the defence's version suggested that someone had come to "soek 'n gelukkie" by stealing from the Van Breda house, but went upstairs and committed an "unprecedented mass murder" without taking anything from the scene.

He questioned the probability of this, saying the murders itself were committed "as if in a frenzy" and that the family was attacked in anger in a "highly personalised nature".

Botha pointed out that the motive for the murders were not known.

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 axe-wielding intruder who was also armed with a knife, the man had escaped.

Judgment is expected to be handed down on April 23.

News24
https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/...d-attack-on-van-breda-family-defence-20180214
 

schumi

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Verdict in Van Breda case to be postponed

The verdict in the triple murder trial of Henri van Breda is expected to be postponed in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Van Breda was expected to hear his fate before Judge Siraj Desai on April 23.

National Prosecuting Authority Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed on Monday that Van Breda would appear for a postponement to a later date.

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 axe-wielding intruder who was also armed with a knife, the man had escaped.

The totality of the evidence against Van Breda did not exclude the possibility of an unknown assailant, defence advocate Pieter Botha insisted during closing arguments in February, saying it was up to the court to decide whether the State produced evidence which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that there were no unidentified attackers.

But prosecutor Susan Galloway argued that there was no motive for someone, such as a hitman, to go to the Van Breda family's De Zalze Golf Estate home and commit this crime.

She said the attack was premeditated, pointing out that Van Breda would have had to arm himself before making his way to the second floor of the house to execute the murders.

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

News24
https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/verdict-in-van-breda-case-to-be-postponed-20180326
 
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