Van Breda’s legal team pushes to have his statement ruled inadmissible

Hendri van Breda appears in the High Court in Cape Town
File picture: Esa Alexander

More than two years ago‚ triple axe murder accused Henri van Breda gave a statement to the police after his family had been axed to death.

Now his defence counsel want the statement to be deemed “inadmissible” in court.

In his plea statement‚ Van Breda claimed doctors had said they would “see what they could do” to have his wounds declared self-inflicted.

He also claimed he had been badgered by Colonel Deon Beneke‚ who told him he “didn’t believe a word of [his] bullshit story”‚ and that he had not been told he had the right to legal representation or the right to remain silent.

Wednesday‚ day 17 of the trial‚ proceedings were stopped in their tracks before anyone had testified as Susan Galloway‚ for the state‚ told Judge Siraj Desai she was not happy with defence attorney Piet Botha’s objection.

“The defence contested the admissibility of the report late [Tuesday] night — the essence of which is already before the court. The state therefore does not understand what the objection is,” Galloway said.

Botha argued that expert witness‚ Dr Jacob Johannes Dempers‚ who was supposed to begin testifying at 10am‚ “makes extensive reference [in his report] to what my client gave to the police by way of a statement on the 27th of January 2015”.

Dempers is a forensic pathologist‚ who prepared a report on Van Breda’s injuries.

Botha said Dempers’s report “also contains other inadmissible hearsay evidence” and character judgements.

He said that up until Tuesday‚ he and Galloway had attempted to reach a compromise between them whereby Dempers’s testimony could go ahead without there having to be a trial within a trial.

“If there is no reference to the content of his [Henri’s] statement‚ then it is okay because a large part of the state’s case is premised on a statement made when he was not aware of his rights,” he said.

Desai asked Galloway: “Can’t you remove the hearsay and character references?”

Galloway said they had already done that but now needed time to remove “parts of the accused’s statement”.

Desai adjourned court to 11.30am so that this could happen.

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