JOHANNESBURG, September 27 – Triple murder-accused, Henri van Breda, is expected to appear in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.
He faces three charges of murder, one of attempted murder and one of defeating the ends of justice for allegedly killing his mother, father and brother, and seriously injuring his sister.
On September 21, defence advocate Piet Botha told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday that he would not be called to testify “at this stage”.
In terms of the law, when the State closes its case, the defence must make its decision on whether it will call on the accused to testify. In this case, Botha wanted to make that decision only after the defence’s expert witnesses had testified. Usually, an accused is called as the defence’s first witness.
This would create the possibility that the accused could tailor his version based on what expert witnesses testified. Botha is allowed to change the decision not to call him at a later stage, but it could have consequences if the court draws a negative inference.
Senior State prosecutor Susan Galloway said that if Henri testified last it would prejudice the State.
Judge Siraj Desai said he would give judgement on these points on September 27.
Van Breda faces three counts of murder for the axe attacks on his parents and brother at their family home in the luxury estate de Zalze in Stellenbosch in January 2015.
He also faces a charge of attempted murder after his sister Marli, who was 16-years-old at the time, survived the attack. He further faces a charge of defeating the ends of justice. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and claims a laughing, axe-wielding intruder wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothing was behind the attacks.
In his plea explanation, he also claimed there may have been more than one intruder and that he heard Afrikaans being spoken during the attacks.