MURDERER: Henri van Breda. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency.
Cape Town - “I asked you many times to advance any reason in mitigation, I was asking you to give me a peg on which to hang my coat; you gave me no peg.”

These were the words of Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai, engaging with triple-axe murderer Henri van Breda’s lawyer, advocate Pieter Botha, in an application for leave to appeal his murder conviction and three life sentences.

Botha argued in support for a leave to application he submitted on Tuesday.

In a summary of his submission, Botha said the trial court erred and misdirected itself in finding the circumstantial evidence presented by the State proved Van Breda’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

“We are saying there is a reasonable prospect that the State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the murders were premeditated. Mandatory life sentence will fall away and court can consider sentence afresh,” he said.

Botha said Van Breda was young and faced spending the rest of his life in jail based on circumstantial evidence.

“There is a reasonable prospect that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) will come to a different conclusion on facts. We are challenging the factual findings,” he said.

According to Botha, the SCA could attach far greater weight to certain expert evidence. Judgment has been postponed to Monday. 

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Cape Argus