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The Van Breda murder trial
I put a lot of time and effort in the work I do, to ensure it's right, which is why I expect the same from everyone, something I rarely see nowadays unfortunately. One generally end up being disappointed, which is why my expectations are somewhat nearing zero when services are rendered elsewhere.

Day 20 has arrived and was a relatively short day in court. We are still busy with the “trial-within-the-trial” discussing the admissibility of Henri’s statement. Closing arguments are expected to happen tomorrow.

Andre du Toit took the stand today. He is Teresa’s brother. The morning of the murders he got a call from the estate manager, Boet Grobler. Andre was contacted because he was put down as the emergency contact. He was told to go to De Zalze as soon as possible. He wasn’t told why.

He arrived at the scene and realized there were big problems. The police were there and it was cordoned off with yellow tape. He introduced himself as family and Colonel Benecke approached him. 
He said that Colonel Benecke introduced himself and then asked Andre, “Hoe was die familie?” Andre said in court he didn’t know what Benecke meant by that. He replied to Benecke at the time that he didn’t know of any problems. Benecke then left him to return to his duties and Major Renee Mathee introduced herself to Andre and gave him her contact number. 

During the conversation with Mathee he realized that Teresa, Rudi and Martin had died. He doesn’t recall anything being said about Henri or Marli. He only heard later Henri was taken to the police station and Marli to the hospital. 

After he informed his family and Martin’s brothers of the deaths, his wife and he went to Stellenbosch Mediclinic to try and meet Marli but she was being transported to Vergelegen and the doctors didn’t want the family to see Marli in that condition. 

They then went to the police station and tried to see Henri but they weren’t allowed to. They contacted Christelle Reade-Jahn (James’ mother) as they left the police station. They then went home to Somerset West. They didn’t deliver any food or clothes to Henri. 

They were home for a while when Henri arrived with James. Ron Reade- Jahn (James’ father) arrived with them. Henri was wearing a shirt, board shorts and flip flops. He doesn’t know where he got the shirt. 

They didn’t talk a lot. They cried and hugged. Henri also cried.  Bianca van der Westhuizen also arrived later. It was very emotional and they cried a lot. 

Galloway then cross-examined du Toit. Du Toit says Benecke’s words could have meant anything. Such as if the family had trouble with outside persons. 

Du Toit said he doesn’t recall if they were given a reason they could not see Henri. Du Toit agrees with Galloway that Henri could have gotten the clothes from the Reade-Jahn’s or the van der Westhuizen’s as they were close family friends. 

Du Toit said he believes Henri should have gotten stitches. He doesn’t know if Henri had a beer that night. 

Dr van Zyl described him as calm and the second time more reserved. Du Toit agreed that this is different to Henri’s behavior when he saw him.

Du Toit was excused and Judge Desai allowed the matter to stand down until tomorrow morning.

What do they mean by "Closing arguments are expected to happen tomorrow" ?

I feel like somehow I missed half the trial or something, Bianca wasn't even on the stand?????

(05-31-2017, 07:14 AM)Purply Wrote: What do they mean by "Closing arguments are expected to happen tomorrow" ?

I feel like somehow I missed half the trial or something, Bianca wasn't even on the stand?????

Closing arguments of the trial within the trial, for the admissibility of Henri's statement. And Bianca was on the stand. She was just a useless witness.

Day 21 of the trial but we are stuck with the trial-within-a-trial. 

Advocate Galloway gave closing arguments today. She said that the only relevant evidence here is Sgt Malan’s. Andre du Toit’s evidence doesn’t assist in whether Henri was detained or a suspect. 

Henri was treated in the ambulance and taken to the doctor as per standard police procedure. The accused never indicated he did not want to talk to the police. He wasn’t put in a position where he had to give information. He did not say anything incriminating in the statement. He was free to leave and be with his family. Dr Alberste confirmed that Henri was brought to her as a victim of a crime. 

The police were eager to get his statement as he was the only witness to a very serious and violent crime and they needed information for crime intelligence. Henri never indicated dissatisfaction at the police’s conduct. He wasn’t forced to be there. According to Malan’s evidence, Henri was never assaulted or intimidated. The accused did not testify in the trial within a trial, he didn’t say to us “I asked for clothes, or I asked for food.” The accused elected not to testify, and that should be taken into consideration.

Advocate Botha then gave his closing argument.

The accused should have been informed of the protection of his Constitutional rights, and failure to do that makes any reference to his statement inadmissible. The onus is on the state to prove beyond reasonable doubt that his statement was not obtained in a manner which goes against his Constitutional Rights. 

Why are we putting up a fight over a statement with information that is on par with the plea explanation? The State’s main witness (Malan) –we know for a fact – was not present when the accused was questioned by Benecke or Adams. And yet the state only called Malan. 

With regards to Sgt Malan, I submit there can be no doubt that his version of my client wearing a t-shirt was a lie. 

Judge Desai interjected here and said, “At worst, this was poor taste. Lie is a harsh word. Your client didn’t testify to say he was bare-chested.”

There is a difference between taking a victim dressed in clothes to the police station and to the doctor and taking a person, bloodied and injured, dressed only in underwear – that becomes a problem. 

The police’s actions don’t indicate that they saw him as a witness. Malan gave the impression that he was there the whole time Henri was questioned and only left once to eat a sandwich and then later said he also left to do some administrative tasks. Then we hear – from his pocketbook – that he actually also went to Blue Downs to investigate a separate case. Nowhere is it said in his pocketbook that he was there during questioning. 

He argued that Adams and Benecke should have been called. The state must have been concerned that their testimonies would contradict each other. 

Botha said it is up to the State to prove his client was not a suspect at the time. Not for him to prove that he was indeed a suspect. The problem isn’t that Malan made mistakes, it’s that he refused to concede that it was his version. 

Malan played a fairly minor role, it could even be possible that Malan really thought he was a victim. Taking the victim to the doctor for blood tests is not the type of tests you conduct on a witness. 

Desai said his decision will be handed down tomorrow morning. 
The court is adjourned until tomorrow morning.

Wow ok, why not just waste another day arguing who wore what at what time, as that is of utmost importance in solving this case...

Day 22, and Judge Desai made his ruling on the admissibility of Henri’s statement. 

He first referred to the pathologist reports, which Advocate Botha does not want to be publicized and which are very graphic. Botha said the publication would be prejudicial to his client. Desai said he is not persuaded that Henri’s right to a fair trial would be compromised. Possible harm is far-fetched. Publication would sensationalize the trial. But the application to bar the press is refused, however, the media should be sensitive with their publications. 

Henri’s statement is allowed as evidence – the reasons to be given at the end of the trial. (saying that makes it seem close by) 

The next witness was Cornelius Engelbrecht, he is with the Hawks. He was asked to assist with the forensic analysis. He investigated the cellphones and landline records. 

Henri’s cellphone data was analyzed as well as the family’s landline. He compiled a report. Henri made a call to Bianca at 4.24. He then made a Google search at 4.27. He called the wrong emergency number at 7.12. Then made a phone call from the landline at 7.12 to 107. 

There was an incoming call at 7.39 but it could not be determined who it was from. All the calls to Bianca went unanswered. There was a text to Bianca “Emergency please pick up the phone.” But here was no further communication. 

There was also a Google Maps search to plot where he had been at that stage. Botha asked whether this was true? Yes, Engelbrecht said. Henri said that he found 10 Allerman Street. Engelbrecht said he doesn’t know how he could have got this address. 

Engelbrecht then stood down as Botha wanted to explore that. 

Andre Hitchcock was the next witness. He is stationed at the criminal record centre in Worcester. He is a photographer and a crime scene investigator. He also took forensic samples at the scene. He has covered thousands of crime scenes. 

He said the De Zalze scene was relatively neat, it wasn’t similar to house or business robberies. In the study, the drawers and the cupboard doors stood open. Touch DNA was taken as per procedure. He said they have a swabbing evidence kit that they use to collect blood samples, which gets put into a numbered kit box which is then photographed with the sample and sealed. 

There are three pages with the swabbing kit. A white page – goes with the kit to the lab. Pink – stays in the docket. Green – goes to the investigating officer. 

Botha then asked why would Henri at that stage plot 10 Allerman Street? Engelbrecht said he doesn’t know; it could happen if he stood somewhere else. 10 Allerman Street is relatively far from 12 Goske Street. 

Hitchcock then took the stand again.  “If there is suspected blood, there is a kit which we use. I open it personally; use one swab per sample and note where it was collected. I fill in the page with the kit and then it is sealed.” 

Hitchcock said that 12 Goske Street was where he collected the most blood samples, compared to other scenes. The evidence collected at the scene are booked in and guarded until a forensic report is assembled. Then it gets sent to the laboratory. 

Hitchcock confirms he made a video of the scene at about 1 pm. He videos the scene before it’s marked, then takes photos. He then identifies certain points where there is forensic evidence and then he photographs again. He does this alone. After that investigators search for evidence and this gets photographed – wide angle and close up. Orange cones are set up where evidence is found. Lieutenant Hanekom and Hitchcock did this at the scene. It was a big scene, so that which they could see, they marked it. 

After Hitchcock did his forensic tasks, Sergeant Olifant did the fingerprints. 

The court is adjourned until Monday, June 5th.

Finally the real trial has started, it's already getting more interesting, the previous version was bit of a snooze fest.

I try to keep it interesting but there's only so much I can do I wonder how long the trial is going to be still.

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If I had to guess, probably another month minimum, as they appear to be moving rather slow currently.

And it seems in courtland there are only 4 working days, how nice!

This post is not the culmination of Day 23. 

Proceedings have been postponed until Wednesday for Henri van Breda due to personal reasons by his defence advocate. 

Matthys Combrink told Judge Desai today that Advocate Pieter Botha asks for the matter to be postponed until Wednesday. The reasons have been given to the court. 

Desai allowed the postponement and the State gave no objection.

It might as well have been the culmination of Day 23 since things are happening at snails pace already.

By my estimate we'd be lucky if this ends on Day 60

(laughing crying face) That means 30+ more posts hopefully it gets so interesting I wouldn't mind typing pages and pages.

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(06-06-2017, 01:23 PM)Carly1803 Wrote: (laughing crying face) That means 30+ more posts hopefully it gets so interesting I wouldn't mind typing pages and pages.

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Lol yeah, I do appreciate all the updates, along with many other forumites I'm sure,  makes it so much easier to read and follow Smile

(06-06-2017, 01:30 PM)Purply Wrote: Lol yeah, I do appreciate all the updates, along with many other forumites I'm sure,  makes it so much easier to read and follow Smile

It's a pleasure. I like talking about the trial so the more I know the better. And what better way to know more than by posting in depth updates.

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