August 19, 2017

News:

Breda’s first statement to police admitted into evidence

Henri van Breda’s initial statement to police on the day his parents and brother were murdered was yesterday admitted into evidence in his trial.

Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai made the decision after almost a week-long trial-within-a-trial.

Pieter Botha, for Van Breda, had argued that it be excluded as police had already seen his client as a suspect.

This meant he was entitled to be warned that he did not have to make a statement, had the right to consult a lawyer, and to remain silent.

It was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, and it did not contain Van Breda’s exact words. He signed it because he wanted to leave the police detectives’ offices, Botha had argued.

Sergeant Clinton Malan, whose mother tongue is Afrikaans, took the statement. He told the court the gist of the document was accurate, despite the errors in grammar and language.

Botha said the police’s handling of Van Breda on the day of the murders did not indicate that they saw him as a witness, as the State claimed.

Van Breda was a suspect as he was taken from the scene to the district surgeon wearing only his boxer shorts, before being driven to the detectives’ offices for his version to be recorded, still only in his underwear, Botha said.

Van Breda’s family was not given access to him and he was introduced to the doctor who drew his blood as a suspect.

Van Breda, now 22, is on trial on charges of murdering his parents Martin, 54, Teresa, 55, and brother Rudi, 22, with an axe, attempting to murder his younger sister Marli, and defeating the ends of justice.

He has pleaded not guilty, claiming a balaclava-clad man attacked the family in their home in the De Zalze Estate, Stellenbosch, in the early hours of January 27, 2015, before escaping.-News24

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