FINAL ARGUMENTS: Murder accused Henri van Breda
The judge in the Henri van Breda axe murder case was not impressed as defence lawyer Piet Botha spent on Tuesday trying to convince the court that his client should be acquitted of all the charges against him.

In final arguments in the Western Cape High Court, Botha argued that the evidence fit in with Van Breda’s version of what happened in the early hours of the morning at the family’s home in the De Zalze Estate, Stellenbosch on 27 January 2015.

He told the court that the State had failed to prove its case, which was based on speculation, and that evidence presented by the State was of “poor quality”.

Van Breda, 23, has claimed that an axe-wielding intruder murdered his father and mother, Martin and Teresa, and his older brother Rudi.

His sister Marli survived but suffered severe injuries, had amnesia and could not testify in the trial.

The State believes that Van Breda was the attacker and that his injuries were self-inflicted.

Botha told the court that if Van Breda had been the attacker, “you would expect him to be drenched in blood”.

There was no blood on his upper body or arms, which Botha said supported his version that he had been in close proximity to his father and brother during the attack, but had not witnessed the attacks on his sister or mother.

NOT IMPRESSED: Judge Siraj Desai

“The DNA investigation did not yield evidence of a single profile of Marli or his mother on the accused’s shorts. There were various bloodstains of Martin and Rudi. Again, it fits in with his version that he was close to them and not close to Marli and his mother,” said Botha.

Judge Siraj Desai questioned why no trace of foreign DNA was found on the crime scene: “There should have been some indication of this alien person.”

But Botha insisted that this too fit in with Van Breda’s version. The lack of foreign DNA could be explained by the fact that, according to Van Breda, the attacker was wearing a balaclava and gloves.

Furthermore, Marli’s DNA was not found on the axe. “It refutes the State’s case,” he argued.

Botha suggested that Marli could have been attacked with a second weapon by a second attacker.

A sceptical Judge Desai said: “It’s such an improbable story.”

Botha insisted that it was possible: “Gratuitous violence during home invasions happens every day in this country. Why is it improbable that the attacker got one axe from the house and brought in a second axe?”

The defence is expected to wrap up final arguments on Wednesday.