The head of the forensic unit at the Victoria Hospital told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday that Henri van Breda’s injuries were superficial and could have been self-inflicted.
As previously reported by the African News Agency, Van Breda has been accused of killing his parents and older brother with an axe. He is also accused of attempted murder – his sister, Marli, who was sixteen years old at the time, survived, but suffered a serious brain injury and has retrograde amnesia. Van Breda also faces a charge of defeating the ends of justice.
Marianne Tiemensma, who has nearly a decade of experience, said most of Van Breda’s injuries could have been self-inflicted, except for those wounds found on his face, back and right leg, according to a report by IOL.
TimesLIVE further reported that Tiemensma had said the areas in which Van Breda suffered wounds were not “typical areas” where defensive wounds would be likely to be found and that it was “unlikely” that someone who was attacked would stand still for injuries of the “nature” of Van Breda’s wounds to have been made.
Tiemensma said the swelling above Van Breda’s eye, grazes on his back and contusions on his right leg, were less likely to have been self-inflicted.
Van Breda had said in his statement that he had blacked out. Tiemensma reportedly said Van Breda had not lost enough blood to have gone into shock from blood loss, and that if one fainted from panic, one often came round again quickly. The doctor who had attended to Van Breda on the morning following the attack reportedly had not found signs of the effects of mild concussion, though she could not rule out a mild concussion, but as Van Breda’s statement was detailed, she said that someone with concussion was not likely to have remembered as much information as he did.
Van Breda’s defence counsel is then reported to have been outraged and said the state was “ambushing”, yet state advocate Susan Galloway reportedly said the defence had access to the reports, and Judge Siraj Desai said they could adjourn for the defence to put a case forward if he had felt he had been “ambushed”. However, the defence conceded they could continue.
It was later decided that the defence’s pathologist would be present to give a different perspective before the state’s pathologist proceeded. This will be heard on Tuesday.
The court also heard from police fingerprint specialist Jonathan Oliphant who said they had not found evidence outside the house of activity, but conceded to the defence that some fingerprints found on the scene had not been identified, reports IOL.