The defence lawyer for 22-year-old Henri van Breda said his client was “champing at the bit” to tell his version of events, but appealed to Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai for a postponement.
Pieter Botha argued that they still needed to receive original photographs from the crime scene, as well as additional DNA reports, one of which involved the murder weapon. He also said the appeal regarding live streaming of court proceedings would have to be heard before the trial starts.
Earlier on Monday, Judge Desai granted Media24’s application to livestream proceedings, but with guidelines. He later suspended the order when both the defence and the State objected.
The appeal will be on an urgent basis and may be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein as early as next week.
Van Breda is facing three charges of murder, one of attempted murder, as well as defeating the ends of justice.
He allegedly killed his father, mother and brother with an axe at their luxury de Zalze Estate home outside Stellenbosch on January 27, 2015. His sister, Marli, who was 16 years old at the time, survived the attack with severe injuries and memory loss.
Desai postponed the matter to April 24 and said his order would continue to be suspended until a decision was made by a superior court. However, he said still photographs could be taken fifteen minutes before court proceedings started, and just after adjournments.
Senior state prosecutor Susan Galloway also argued against livestreaming as she said some witnesses feared being recorded. She said she needed a postponement to give her time to canvas all her witnesses.
Desai said he did not intend allowing postponements, but instead wanted to uphold the public’s confidence in the courts.
He said the trial was likely to be lengthy and complicated. It had attracted public interest and he appealed to the media to “report with restraint” and consider the family of the deceased, including the accused.
A large media contingent was at court, including an Australian television network. Henri’s brother Rudi, who was 22 years old when he was murdered, was studying towards his engineering masters degree at the University of Melbourne.
The trial is set to run from April 24 until the end of the second term.
Van Breda showed no emotion as he sat in the dock. Dressed in a smart suit, his hair brushed back, and dark rings under his eyes, he stared ahead during court proceedings.
His bail of R100 000 was extended.