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The Van Breda murder trial

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He was painted as a suspect from the start, but it took police almost a year-and-a-half to arrest Henri van Breda and charge him with the murder of his parents and brother.


On Monday, he will go on trial on charges of killing his father Martin, mother Teresa and older brother Rudi van Breda with an axe, and of the attempted murder of his sister Marli in the early hours of Tuesday January 27, 2015.


Strong case

In addition to the murder and attempted murder charges, Henri was also charged with defeating the ends of justice. He allegedly inflicted injuries on himself, tampered with the crime scene and misled police about the true identity of the perpetrator.


The NPA repeatedly sent the docket back to the investigating officers to ensure that once charged, the State had a solid case against Van Breda, spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.



This will be the official thread to discuss matters surrounding the Van Breda Murder Trial.

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Van Breda murder trial to be live streamed?


Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court is expected to be a hive of activity when the trial of triple axe-murder accused Henri van Breda begins on Monday.


On Friday, several journalists and media organisations made applications to broadcast inside the courtroom to Judge Siraj Desai, who will preside over proceedings.


Van Breda stands accused of the murder of his father Martin, his mother Theresa and his older brother Rudi. His sister Marli was injured in the attack. Van Breda is accused of her attempted murder as well as defeating the ends of justice.


The trial is expected to be filled with intrigue as details of how the wealthy family were killed in the luxury De Zalze Estate outside Stellenbosch in January 2015 are revealed.


Van Breda first told police that his family was attacked by an axe-wielding intruder.


But more than a year after the killings, the 22-year-old - although having previously claimed to be a victim, too - handed himself over to police. He is currently out on R100 000 bail.


Marli reportedly had her neck slashed during the attack but is understood to have recovered and has returned to school. Her testimony and those of other witnesses are expected to be key in the case against her brother.


In previous pre-trial hearings, the State indicated it was ready for trial but the defence needed to finalise its expert analysis of the evidence against the accused.



If the permission to broadcast the trial from inside the courtroom is granted, it will be one of a few proceedings in South Africa to have been aired - the likes of the murder case of Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.



Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide but his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which found him guilty of murder.


The recent judgement of renowned artist Zwelethu Mthethwa also saw cameras inside the courtroom, but not during proceedings. Mthethwa was found guilty of killing sexworker Nokuphila Kumalo.


In a different matter, Van Breda and his girlfriend are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on April 11 on charges of drug possession. He is out on R1 000 bail for this charge.


Source: http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/van-breda-murder-trial-to-be-live-streamed-8349286



I really hope they approve this. I love watching these things.

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NPA concerned about 'Hollywoodising' Van Breda trial

Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court grappled with the effect that social media and livestreaming could have on witnesses in the Henri van Breda murder case as Media24 applied on Friday for permission to livestream his trial.


Judge Siraj Desai wanted to know whether the company had a television station, and listened carefully as the company's advocate explained how it would work, if granted, when Van Breda's trial begins on Monday.


"There is no TV station. But video footage would be broadcast on the website through livestreaming," said Media24's Advocate John Butler SC.


Media24 is backing up its application with section 16 of the Constitution which guarantees certain rights to freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and the right to access to information.


Butler also argued that allowing the filming enhances the right of access to justice, through providing a way for people not in a position to get to a court, to be able to follow proceedings for themselves.


Van Breda's legal team opposed the application on the grounds that filming could impede his right to a fair trial.


'Within seconds everybody knows what's happening'


Butler argued for Desai not to grant their request a "blanket" refusal, but to instead allow for an order that can be varied to accommodate different circumstances in the trial.


He helped Desai update his social media vocabulary after Desai made a comment that a relative was SMSing a speech of his live, as an example of the immediacy that modern technology has brought.


"Tweeting," said Butler gently.


Desai said: "In today's age everything is out in the world immediately. Within seconds everybody knows what's happening."


He later remarked: "Twitter is one thing, but texting is another. Some people are very good at it; their fingers are faster than their mouth sometimes."


Desai heard that precedent had already been set in the live broadcast of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, in which Judge Thokozile Masipa amended portions of the filming order during the trial to accommodate the wishes of certain witnesses who did not want their image published.


Sister to testify


In the case of Shrien Dewani, only stills and filming of his arrival and departure were allowed, but this was due to his vulnerable state.


The judge eventually discharged the case against murder accused Dewani and he was free to go home.


Van Breda is expected to go on trial on Monday to face three counts of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of obstructing the course of justice.


His parents, Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and his brother Rudi, 22, were axed to death in their home on the luxury De Zalze golf estate in Stellenbosch in the early hours of Tuesday, January 27, 2015. He handed himself to police in June and was granted bail of R100 000 on June 14.


His sister Marli, 17, survived the attack, but sustained serious brain injuries and suffered amnesia.


She is, however, on the list of State witnesses expected to testify.


Careers at risk


The counsel for the National Prosecuting Authority, Hilton Epstein, argued that cameras in court put witnesses under pressure and the possibility of being able to follow the trial could see them tailoring evidence.


Witnesses customarily sit outside court so that they are not influenced by proceedings, but in present times, information is imposed on people where ever they go, he said.


"Why this case? Is this not the Hollywoodisation of open justice?" asked Epstein.


Epstein warned that testifying in court is an intimidating experience, and expert witnesses' reputations could be torn to shreds by the public.


"What does it do to their career? What does it do to their rights?" asked Epstein.


But Desai said: "If an expert is torn to shreds, then he is not an expert."


The application continues.




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It's so stupid that trials like this are broadcasted for no other reason than entertainment and hype.



Thank you Hamster, I wasn't going to be the one saying just that.


Oscar was my favorite series of all time, after the OJ Simpson trial, well actually both are right up there.

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Well it seems it will not be broadcasted anymore.



Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai has ordered a suspension of his earlier ruling that gave Media 24 the go-ahead to live stream proceedings during the trial of alleged axe murderer Henri van Breda.


On Monday, Desai granted the digital publisher the right to take still photos and video 15 minutes before court every day and after the adjournment of proceedings.


During court sittings, he ruled that two video cameras may be set up and “record with guidelines”.

They may not be attended, must be stationary and on tripods so that there was as “little intrusion as possible”. He also ordered that no photographs or video footage be taken of Marli van Breda.


However, Desai suspended his order and said the criminal trial would proceed at 2.15pm. Reasons for his earlier order would be made available to the state and defence next week.



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I like how the judge went in loco for an inspection of the home. I'm thoroughly disappointed though that we do not get live coverage.


I can understand some of the witnesses not wanting to be on camera, but I still believe we have a right to viewing the evidence and hearing the defense and the prosecutions case. Through something other than via live tweeting.




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I'm not really following the trial blow-by-blow, so can't do the whole update thing. I generally just read the last article posted on the day for a recap of everything that happened.


It's been pretty meh so far

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Apparently Die Burger has a speculative article in today's edition?


Apart from that it was a pretty boring day in the trial, just further notes about the security of the home. Advocate Botha said that blood drops were found on the wall of the adjacent house, there are no burglar bars and the gate at one end could easily be scaled.


Court is adjourned till next week Tuesday. 2nd May.


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Is there any new info on this @Carly1803?


I know I can just go and google it, but honestly it's too much for me with all the different news sources, biases and views. I would prefer to just come here and have a human give the gist at the end of each day of what happened.

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Nothing more, not a whole lot has happened except a very confusing account from Henri van Breda, an affidavit that his lawyer read to the court.

And the first detective on the scene Kleynhans said that he smelt alcohol on Henri's breath, and by the smell presumably drunk shortly before the arrival of police.


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