CAPE TOWN, September 4 – Lawyers for triple axe murderer Henri Van Breda will file papers petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal to grant leave to appeal his conviction and sentence by Monday next week.
Lorinda Van Niekerk told African News Agency the papers will be submitted either on Friday or Monday which falls within the 15-day deadline since their application for leave to appeal in the Western Cape High Court was turned down last month.
On August 20, Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai refused the 23-year-old’s application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence and said he hoped it would be “the last word on the case”.
In May this year, Van Breda was convicted of the 2015 triple axe murders of his brother, father, mother and the attempted murder of his sister at the family’s home in the De Zalze security estate in Stellenbosch. He was also found guilty of defeating the ends of justice.
Judge Desai sentenced Van Breda to three life sentences, 15 years for attempted murder and a year for defeating the ends of justice. All the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
The lengthy jail term was appropriate Desai said, “in light of the heinous nature of the crimes”. Furthermore, the only mitigating factors had been Van Breda’s youthfulness and the fact that he had no previous convictions.
He said Van Breda’s lawyer, Piet Botha, had not advanced any compelling reasons for an appeal to be heard. “The arguments he made are similar, if not the same advanced during the trial, and were rejected in principle in the judgment.”
Desai said the State had established “conclusively” that the appellant was responsible for the crimes. “The key pillars of the state’s case provided conclusive evidence of his guilt and are in effect unassailable.”
However, lawyers for Van Breda argued that the “Trial Court erred and misdirected itself in finding that the circumstantial evidence presented by the State, proved the Applicant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt”.
Their arguments focussed on a number of aspects including security at the estate – Van Breda claimed an intruder or intruders were behind the attack.
“The common cause fact that there had been 191 prior incidents of crime that were reported to the SAPS, without any explanation as to how the perpetrators entered and exited the Estate”.
Meanwhile, Van Breda’s sister Marli who was 16 years old at the time of the attack, will remain under the curatorship of advocate Louise Buikman.
Last week, the Western Cape High Court ordered an extension of the curatorship until November 29, 2019.
Marli will be 21 in October next year.
During the trial, state prosecutor Susan Galloway told the court that she had survived not because it was a lesser attack, but rather a “miracle”. She suffered retrograde amnesia as a result of her severe injuries and was unable to testify during the trial.
– African News Agency (ANA)