Van Breda trial delay over media wrangle

Henri Van Breda leaves Cape Town High court Picture: Ruvan Boshoff
Henri Van Breda leaves Cape Town High court
Picture: Ruvan Boshoff

Triple murder accused Henri van Breda has one fervent wish: to tell his story.

But he does not want cameras in his face when he does.

The 22-year-old’s much-anticipated trial in the Cape Town High Court was off to a false start yesterday.

An application brought by Media 24 to live stream the proceedings as well as a request for more evidence by Van Breda’s counsel prompted Judge Siraj Desai to postpone the trial to April 24.

Desai granted the media house permission to film the proceedings in the morning but had to suspend the order after the defence and the prosecution objected.

“I have consulted my client and I have prepared a plea‚” Van Breda’s counsel, Pieter Botha‚ said.

“If there is someone who wants to have his say‚ after he has been in the glare of the media‚ it is my client.”

Botha asked Desai to postpone the trial so that he could obtain the original pictures of the crimes and DNA reports regarding the murder weapon from the state.

Botha and Hilton Epstein SC‚ representing the state, opposed Desai’s order.

Desai has allowed the media to take pictures inside the courtroom 15 minutes before the court starts and at the end of the proceedings. He also allowed stationary and unmanned video cameras for live streaming to be mounted in discreet locations in the courtroom, but he ordered the media not to take pictures of Van Breda’s sister‚ Marli.

The prosecution said most state witnesses were reluctant to testify in the glare of cameras.

The parties asked Desai to furnish them with reasons for his decision.

“Our instructions are to seek leave to appeal‚” Botha said.

“It is impossible to appeal without the court’s reasons.”

Epstein lashed out at Media 24 for waiting until the 11th hour to bring the application.

He said the prosecution would seek leave to appeal against Desai’s decision to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

But Advocate Barbara Vaughan, for Media 24, said: “There is inherent flexibility in your lordship’s order and it can deal with concerns being raised.”

Desai granted the postponement but warned that he would not accommodate unnecessary delays.

Van Breda is out on R100 000 bail.

He allegedly killed his father‚ mother and brother with an axe at the De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate.

He is also charged with the attempted murder of his sister, Marli‚ now 18.

Leave a Reply