Judge rules Henri van Breda’s initial statement admissible as evidence

In addition to this, the judge ruled that the press is allowed to publish the post-mortem results.

FILE: Triple murder accused, Henri van Breda, enters the Western Cape High Court. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai has ruled that family axe murder accused Henri van Breda's police statement can be used as evidence.

In addition to this, the judge ruled that the media is allowed to publish the post-mortem results, but asked that they be sensitive when publishing it.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defence made closing arguments in the matter pertaining to the admissibility of Van Breda's statement to police on the morning after the attack on his family.

The defence argued that Van Breda was questioned as a suspect and that his constitutional rights were violated, while the State claimed he was a witness at that stage.

The defence said there were several factors suggesting that Van Breda was a suspect, including the fact that he was questioned in the detectives' communal offices while dressed only in his underpants.

Defence advocate Pieter Botha said that his client was not informed of his rights or given any food.

Van Breda is accused of killing his parents and older brother, and severely wounding his younger sister in their De Zalze home.

In his plea explanation, he claimed that a balaclava-clad, axe-wielding intruder attacked his family.

While Sergeant Adrian Kleynhans had testified that it would have been impossible for intruders to gain access, the defence demonstrated that security breaches aren't impossible.

Last week, however, a forensic pathologist said the accused’s injuries were “neat and parallel”.

Doctor Marianne Tiemensma told the Western Cape High Court several of Van Breda's injuries could have been self-inflicted.

Doctor Tiemensma found that Van Breda's explanation of the attack did not correspond with the wounds he sustained.

The accused claimed that he was injured during a push-and-pull struggle with an axe-wielding intruder.

But the doctor questions why his wounds were equal in depth and parallel if he was involved in a scuffle.

The defence has told the court that the attacker tried to slash the accused's throat with a knife, but he managed to deflect it.

EMOTIONS

The accused’s uncle described him as being "very emotional" following the attack on his family.

Andre du Toit has been testifying in relation to the admissibility of Van Breda's police statement he signed on the morning after the attack in January 2015.

Du Toit says he and his wife only saw Van Breda later that day on 27 January 2015 at the home of Marli’s then-boyfriend James Reade-Jahn in Somerset West.

Other family friends were also there. Du Toit has described Van Breda as being "very emotional" as he kept on crying and stuttering because he was speaking fast.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway says the police officers and doctors who examined Van Breda that day, say the accused didn't show any emotion and was calm when they were with him.

Galloway has asked Du Toit if it's possible that Van Breda could've had a beer while at the Reade-Jahn home, before another doctor examined him later that day, but Du Toit says he doesn't know.

The prosecution against Van Breda argued that his demeanour around his family and friends was different to how he acted around police and doctors following the attack.

Additional reporting by Shamiela Fisher.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)