Van Breda case postponed

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The trial of triple axe murder accused, Henri van Breda, has been postponed until the 27 November in the High Court in Cape Town. This is in order to give time to a neurologist, Dr James Butler, time to complete his report on Van Breda’s condition.

Butler diagnosed Van Breda with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.  The court heard that Van Breda had spent the weekend in hospital where several tests were conducted after suffering a seizure.

The defence wants Doctor Butler to give expert testimony on the condition.  Van Breda was unable to explain to the court why more than two hours had lapsed before he called for emergency assistance on the night his family was hacked to death.

He had testified that he was scared to come to the aid of his brother and father as he witnessed their attack by an axe-wielding intruder. Defence counsel Piet Botha told the court that Butler has given information that is pertinent to the time lapse in January 2015.

The defence also intends calling a psychologist to explain the accused’s behaviour on the night of the killings. State Prosecutor Susan Galloway agreed to the postponement saying she also has not seen the doctor’s report. Judge Seraj Desai granted the postponement.

“This trial is now unduly prolonged, the defence case is not completed yet, though I accept Mr Botha’s explanation that this was unexpected and maybe relevant to the issues that arise in this matter, though reluctantly I am going to postpone the matter, and do so only on the basis that it is in the interest of justice to do so, to have this matter ventilated as fully as possible, Mr Van Breda your bail is extended until the 27 November.”

Desai has indicated ethical concerns as Butler had been a potential witness for the state, but was never called to take the stand.  State Prosecutor Susan Galloway told the court that the state might also need to consult an expert following the testimony by the neurologist. Van Breda has pleaded not guilty to murdering both his parents and brother. His sister was severely injured in the attack.