CAPE TOWN, August 21 – The Western Cape High Court on Monday postponed the trial against triple murder accused, 22-year-old Henri van Breda, until September 11 as the blood spatter expert due to testify was not well enough to take the stand.
Captain Marius Joubert is the State’s final witness and was meant to give expert blood spatter evidence last week when the case had to be postponed because of his ill health.
Despite strenuous objections by the defence, Judge Siraj Desai granted the State’s application for another postponement.
Senior State prosecutor, Susan Galloway, told the court she had spoken to Joubert’s doctor who said he was physically not in a position to stand in court.
She said: “This witness is part of the circumstantial evidence, it is in the interests of justice for the State to have a fair trial in presenting our case.”
Defence advocate, Piet Botha, said he had flown down their own expert from Kwazulu-Natal and that the postponements were costing his client a lot of money.
Van Breda has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of defeating the ends of justice.
He allegedly used an axe to murder his mother, father and brother at their home in the luxury security estate de Zalze in Stellenbosch in January 2015. His sister, who was 16 years old at the time, survived the attack.
In his plea explanation, he claimed that a laughing, axe-wielding attacker wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothing broke into their house on the security estate.
His mother, Teresa, father Martin, and brother Rudi all died in the attack when they were set upon with an axe, or “similarly sharp object”. Henri van Breda’s sister, Marli, suffered a severe brain injury during the attack. She has since returned to school, but has retrograde amnesia and therefore remembers nothing of the events, and will not be called to testify in the trial.
The chief forensic analyst at the police’s forensic laboratory, Lieutenant-Colonel Sharlene Otto, told the Western Cape High Court earlier this month that “no unknown DNA was found on the scene” at the Van Breda home. Her laboratory analysed 216 samples taken from the crime scene.
She conceded that it was possible an intruder would not leave a trace: “If I wear personal protective equipment, gloves, a balaclava, if I cover my body and come in and go out, I won’t leave a trace. But, the crime scene may leave a trace on me.”
Otto testified that nail scrapings taken from Henri’s left hand contained the mixed DNA of himself, his mother Teresa and his brother Rudi.
A blood sample taken from the bottom of the axe handle also had a “mixture result”. Otto said Henri’s DNA could be read into the mixture, as well as the DNA of others, but there was not enough to read a full profile.
A swab of blood from the head of the axe again showed a mixture result of both male and female DNA belonging to Teresa and Rudi.
Otto testified that blood found on the corner of the shower floor was also a mixture of DNA profiles – Rudi’s, Teresa’s and Henri’s.
– African News Agency (ANA)