Advocate Botha concluded his cross-examination of the State’s blood spatter expert yesterday, and the State closed their case against Henri van Breda as we noted in our piece that ran yesterday.

We also told you that court resumes on Thursday to discuss the issue of when Henri will be testifying. In the meantime, it’s useful to know how the State wrapped up their case this week.

Captain Joubert was the last witness for the State, and although he made a number of concessions regarding possibilities which would favor the Defence’s case, these were based on scenarios put to him by Henri’s experts whose evidence is yet to be tested. Here are my highlights of the final day of cross-examination of this witness:

Advocate Botha tended to revert to points he has covered with Captain Joubert in the last few days of cross-examination, however he did manage to get quite a number of concessions from Joubert too. Given the number of factors which influence blood spatter, Joubert admitted almost every statement put to him by Advocate Botha as being a possibility.

At times Joubert offered support for why he had elected one to be more probable than the other but the general theme is that Henri’s version of events, in many aspects, is a possibility. Of course, these possibilities need to stand up to the cross-examination of the State prosecutor, Advocate Galloway, when the roles reverse, and Advocate Botha’s experts testify for the Defense, which will enable the court to fully assess the probability of conclusions made by both sides’ blood spatter experts.

The Duvet’s found in the boy’s room

Using reports of the investigating officer Warrant Officer Hitchcock, who collected evidence from the scene, Advocate Botha, showed Joubert that it appeared as if he and Warrant Officer Hitchcock had swapped the duvet’s around. In Captain Joubert’s report, he had exhibit 138 as Henri’s duvet and exhibit 139 as Rudi’s duvet. This certainly cast doubt on which duvet Captain Joubert had actually considered when making his findings regarding blood spatter and patterns found on the duvet which was supposed to have been in Henri’s bed. Joubert showed photographs of the scene and the duvet he labeled as being Henri’s duvet, but the possible confusion is problematic and may lead to less weight being attached to the conclusions made regarding the movement of Henri’s duvet as well as the knife patterns Joubert had identified on it.

 

Henri’s socks too clean to have moved Rudi

We have heard quite a bit of detail about how much Rudi had bled on the bed, on the floor between the beds as well as on the wall near his final resting place and then in his final resting place, all with the view of trying to determine the possibility of Rudi being alive while he was moving. The Defence told the court that they will lead evidence that Rudi moved himself off of the bed and that is the reason why he was found where off the bed.

Joubert concluded in his report that Rudi must have been moved after he died and had stopped actively bleeding, and, conceding under cross, the possibility that Rudi may still have been alive. In fact, he went further and agreed with Advocate Botha that it would have been impossible for Henri to move Rudi in the manner described by Joubert in his report, without getting the bottom of his socks soaked with Rudi’s blood (which they were not).

Henri would not have had time to clean himself?

Joubert agreed with Advocate Botha that if Henri had cleaned himself after attacking Marli, he would have had to do so soon after the attack because of the blood which had congealed on the axe and was found on the wall that the axe had hit.

Joubert conceded that Henri would not have had enough time to both clean himself – and to move Rudi around the room – and that both tasks would have resulted in him having Rudi’s blood on the bottom of his socks.

Neither Advocate Botha nor Captain Joubert clarified why the only possibility is that Henri must have cleaned himself immediately, and the State didn’t deal with this in their re-examination, which I found surprising, unless the State plans on dealing with it in cross-examination of the Defence’s experts.

Police possible incorrect handling of the Crime Scene

Advocate Botha produced a photograph which he told the court had been taken on the afternoon of 28 January 2017 (the afternoon after the murders were committed) which showed pillows, covers, sheets and the dog’s (Sasha) bed all piled on one another.

Joubert argued that this was wrong, he said nothing on the scene had been moved like that before he had processed and he had not yet processed the scene at that time and date. Advocate Botha told the court that the metadata of the time and date that the photograph was taken said otherwise.

Follow me on Twitter for live, to-the-minute updates from the Van Breda trial.

 

Photography Megan-leigh Heilig

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