Axe murder accused Van Breda expected finally to enter plea on Monday

Henri van Breda
File picture: Esa Alexander

Axe murder accused Henri van Breda is finally expected to enter a plea in the High Court in Cape Town on Monday.

But one of the issues that caused a postponement of his trial four weeks ago – the presence of video cameras in court – remains unresolved after the 22-year-old’s legal team filed papers with the Supreme Court of Appeal challenging Judge Siraj Desai’s ruling allowing the media to live-stream court proceedings.

Van Breda is accused of murdering his mother Theresa‚ father Martin and brother Rudi‚ in an axe attack in January 2015 at their home in an exclusive gated estate in Stellenbosch.

He is also accused of the attempted murder of his sister Marli‚ now 18‚ who escaped with a severed jugular and a head wound which reportedly left her with retrograde amnesia.

Van Breda’s lawyer‚ Lorinda van Niekerk‚ said his legal team‚ including advocate Pieter Botha‚ was ready to enter the ring against seasoned state advocate Susan Galloway.

Galloway told the court on March 27 that some state witnesses had said they would not testify if the trial was broadcast live.

Van Breda’s defence argued that a live broadcast would impinge on his right to a fair trial because he felt intimidated by the presence of cameras.

Last month Desai was adamant that the case not be postponed any further‚ and Botha assured him Van Breda had prepared a plea.

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

In a separate case‚ charges of dagga possession against Van Breda and his girlfriend Danielle Janse van Rensburg were withdrawn on April 11.

The couple were arrested with dagga in Table View last September but Janse van Rensburg told the court it belonged to her.

“It took the intervention of the director of public prosecutions to withdraw the charges but he had a look at the docket and saw what my client has been saying all along‚ that it wasn’t his dagga‚ that he was innocent of the charges‚” Botha said.

“The charge against (Janse van Rensburg) was also withdrawn but on condition that she has to attend a number of sessions with her psychologist.”

-TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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