Henri van Breda’s defence counsel‚ Piet Botha‚ has reassured Judge Siraj Desai that his three-hour cross-examination on Wednesday that seemingly had no point will eventually reveal something of huge significance – but only after lunch.
“I know we are labouring the point‚ but what’s to come is absolutely crucial‚” he told Desai in the High Court in Cape Town.
Van Breda is in the dock for the murder of his parents‚ Martin and Teresa‚ and his brother Rudi – as well as the attempted murder of his sister Marli.
Botha spent three hours cross-examining warrant officer Andre Hitchcock who had gone to the scene of the bloody murders to collect and photograph evidence.
He led Hitchcock through an elaborate line of questioning that focused on: how he had taken swabs of blood from the axe‚ checked for and found signs of blood spatter in the bathroom nearest to the room where Martin and Rudi were found dead‚ and how all evidence was collected‚ bagged and labelled.
Both sides had braved the biggest storm in the Mother City in thirty years to attend the trial‚ but the excruciating details of how the crime scene was investigated on 27 January 2015 left many present visibly bored.
Desai stroked his moustache‚ Botha’s colleague Matthys Combrink scratched his head with his pen and‚ for most of the morning‚ Henri van Breda played with his ring like a fidget-spinner.
Earlier in the morning too‚ when Botha spent several minutes focusing on what had and had not been photographed at the scene‚ Desaid told Botha: “Please remember‚ Mr Botha‚ that we are both [Desai and the assessor] experienced and you need not conduct this cross-examination as if it is for a jury. I am not stopping you from cross-examining but I am pointing out that many of the points you make‚ which may sound nice‚ are not going anywhere.”
Meantime‚ the gallery stood virtually empty today with the notable exception of Henri’s uncle Andre du Toit who‚ as usual‚ sat in his seat on the side listening to every word.
It is hoped that after lunch‚ Botha’s point will be revealed.
Once in the courtroom‚ the only clue of the storm raging outside was the little bucket that had been placed under a leak in the roof.
Desai also joked about his‚ Combrink’s and Botha’s baldness by saying‚ “We three should all be wearing beanies in this weather.”