NPA had access to Breytenbach files ‘all along’

2012-08-06 15:43

A second witness for the National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed that the NPA had access to files Glynnis Breytenbach had deleted from her computer “all along”.

Jaco Venter, a private forensic analyst, today confirmed under cross-examination in Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing that he was given access to a copy of her laptop last week.

The week before, lead NPA investigator Hercules Wasserman, told the hearing that it was very important that they gained access to her laptop because only Breytenbach’s emails could be accessed through the NPA’s server.

But today it emerged that the NPA’s server had made an automatic copy of all Breytenbach’s information, including her emails, on April 30, the morning on which she was suspended.

Advocate Wim Trengove SC, representing Breytenbach, asked Venter if the deleted information “was available to the NPA on their server all along”.

Venter replied: “That’s correct. I was told by Wasserman there was a server crash but he was never informed by IT that it only affected the head office.”

Breytenbach’s computer was connected to a regional server, so the information had been there all along, Venter said.

Venter admitted that he had only been given a copy of the hard drive last week, after Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing had already commenced.

This was similar to the evidence given by the NPA’s IT expert, Eudele Swarts, earlier today.

Several of the fifteen charges Breytenbach faces relate to her refusing to give up her laptop, deleting information and allowing a third party access to it.

Tempers flared in the hearing when Trengove grilled Venter about whether he had respected Breytenbach’s privacy in retrieving the deleted files.

The NPA has also laid a criminal complaint against her related to these charges.

Trengove accused Venter of being “reckless” and not considering Breytenbach’s privacy and the fact that some of her documents might be legally privileged.

William Mokhari, representing the NPA as prosecutor, objected to this saying Venter was merely performing functions assigned to him by the NPA.

Trengove responded that “my learned friend (Mokhari) should not make excuses for the witness”.

The hearing was postponed to August 14.

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