Proceedings were brief this morning at the Cape High Court as the van Breda trial resumed.

Advocate Pieter Botha told the court that his client, Henri van Breda, suffered a seizure and was admitted to Constantiaberg Mediclinic for observation and tests. The triple-murder accused was discharged last night and diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. This is one of the most common forms of the generalised epilepsy syndromes to emerge in mid-to-late childhood.

Despite an enquiry from Judge Siraj Desai about Henri’s condition, Botha advised the court that his client is fit to stand trial.

Tomorrow, we expect to hear from the next defence witness, a psychologist the court has introduced as Ms Bourke. She was expected to take the stand today, but Botha said the expert first wished to see Henri’s report following his seizure this weekend as it may impact evidence.


What is Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy?

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is a genetically-determined condition, affecting children generally between 5 and 16 years old, followed by ‘myoclonic jerks’ about 1 to 9 years later. Generalised tonic-clonic seizures are reported in nearly all patients.


Photography Sean Dollery / HM Images

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