NEWS

Dagga Charges Dropped Against Murder Accused Van Breda And His Girlfriend

Meanwhile, Van Breda is appealing a court ruling that will allow his murder trial for allegedly killing his parents to be streamed live.

11/04/2017 12:03 SAST | Updated 11/04/2017 12:16 SAST
RODGER BOSCH via Getty Images
Henri van Breda (R) and his lawyer Pieter Botha (L) exit from the Western Cape High Court, after the start of his trial for allegedly killing his parents.

Charges of possession of marijuana have been withdrawn against murder-accused Henri Van Breda and his girlfriend, Danielle Janse van Rensburg. They appeared in court briefly on Tuesday morning.

Van Breda is currently out on bail. He is accused of murdering his parents and his brother with an axe in Stellenbosch in 2015. His sister survived the attack.

Van Breda and Janse van Rensburg were arrested in August last year on dagga possession charges. On Tuesday, the charges being dropped against Janse van Rensburg came with conditions, including that she would see a psychologist.

Meanwhile, Van Breda's legal team is appealing a high court ruling that will allow his murder trial to be streamed live . On March 27, Judge Sirag Desai ruled that unattended video cameras may be used to broadcast the trial but with conditions attached. This followed an application to broadcast the trial live by Media24.

On Monday, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) approached the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court seeking leave to appeal the high court judgment.

Western Cape director of public prosecutions, Rodney de Kock, said the fair trial rights of the accused and the prosecution would be impaired if the trial was live streamed.

He cautioned against aggravating an already intimidating arena for witnesses with live television broadcasts, and said this would subvert the principle of open justice.

According to News24, this follows a decision by Desai last week to deny the state and the accused's applications for leave to appeal.

He reportedly said: "It seems to me that in the modern era of rapidly increasing methods of mass communication, to decline this order would be inconsistent with the current, and certainly the future, reality."

However, he said the order to allow live streaming could be easily varied if there was any evidence during the trial that the broadcasting was affecting the trial negatively.

Van Breda is reportedly "champing at the bit" to tell his side of the story in court.

Desai suspended his order until a higher court had heard the state and Van Breda's appeals. The trial was postponed until April 24.