The longer it takes to get a statement from Marli van Breda, the less credible her testimony will be should the perpetrator be charged with the triple murder of her family, defence attorney Ulrich Roux said on Monday.
Monday marked the six-month anniversary of the axe attack that claimed the lives of Martin van Breda, his wife Teresa and 22-year-old son, Rudi, at the De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate in Stellenbosch.
Marli sustained a severed jugular and severe head injuries that resulted in retrograde amnesia, meaning she cannot recall anything about the attack.
Her brother Henri, 20, suffered light injuries.
No arrests have yet been made.
Roux, a director of BDS Attorneys, told News24 that while it was clear the police were not in a position to make any arrests as they wait for Marli to regain her memory and make a statement on what happened that night, the case would still remain open, “even if it takes 20 years”.
“What will be affected, however, is the credibility of her testimony. The more time lapses, the easier it will be for the defence to attack the reliability of her account,” he said.
“Marli’s testimony is crucial to the state’s case. These are serious crimes.
“Unlike a civil case, where no action can be taken after three years have elapsed, murder cases never fall away.”
Marli is back at school full time and was placed in the care of an aunt and uncle.
Police are keeping mum on the details and possible developments in the investigation.
“No further information will be divulged at this point as we do not want to pre-empt any steps we might embark upon in future,” spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said.
The National Prosecuting Authority was also studying the docket, spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed. News24