Henri van Breda’s legal team 'nitpicked' as they tried to convince the Western Cape High Court why he should be granted leave to appeal against his three life sentences.  Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Convicted axe murderer Henri van Breda’s legal team “nitpicked” as they tried to convince the Western Cape High Court why he should be granted leave to appeal against his three life sentences.

So argued State prosecutor Susan Galloway, as she said there was no reason why Van Breda should be granted the leave.

Van Breda, 23, was convicted in May for the murder of his mother, Teresa, 55, father Martin, 54, and brother Rudi, 22, as well as the attempted murder of his sister Marli, who was 16 at the time.

He was sentenced to three life terms for the murders, 15 years for the attempted murder, and a further 12 months for defeating the ends of justice. Judge Siraj Desai questioned why another court would arrive at a different conclusion.

He said that if DNA and blood spatter evidence was omitted, Van Breda would still have been found guilty.

Van Breda’s legal representative Pieter Botha argued that it was possible for the appeals court to find that the high court erred in finding “no credible convincing evidence exists”.

“Either he was the luckiest man on the entire planet, or he is telling the truth. There is a reasonable possibility that his version is true,” Botha argued.

Judge Desai responded by saying the evidence fitted like a puzzle.

“No evidence was presented that he was a disturbed individual. If it had been, it would have made a big difference. There was no evidence in mitigation,” Judge Desai said.

During the trial the judge tried several times to get a motive from Van Breda as to why he killed his family, but Van Breda did not have an answer. Judge Desai had said the only inference was that Van Breda committed the crimes out of innate wickedness.

Botha had said he spoke to his client about the issue many times, but Van Breda was adamant he did not do it.

Galloway argued yesterday that Botha had nitpicked at circumstantial evidence, and was “missing the woods for the trees”.

“Our argument is that the court was correct in finding the murders were premeditated. The accused had to go downstairs to get the axe, go back upstairs, and attacked his brother on the head. 

"There can’t be any inference other than it being premeditated murder. The defence is nitpicking at circumstantial evidence, and missing the wood for the trees,” Galloway said.

Judge Desai reserved judgment for Friday.

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