Breytenbach case: Court hears of agreement to shred data, duplicate hard drive

2017-10-11 19:43
Glynnis Breytenbach. (Picture: Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach. (Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria – As the defence for former state prosecutor and now DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach, who faces charges relating to unauthorised access to, and modifying official laptop computer contents, closed its case on Wednesday, her co-accused and former attorney Gerhard Wagenaar said there was an agreement to shred personal data and have a duplicate of the hard drive made. 

The charges relate to documents deleted in a matter of a mining rights case involving Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) and Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary Sishen Iron Ore in which Breytenbach was involved in at the time she worked for the specialised commercial crimes unit within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

'An agreement was in place'

Under cross-examination by the State in the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, Wagenaar's testimony was similar to that of Breytenbach. He reiterated that there was an agreement in place to allow the deletion of personal information and have a "mirror image" of the hard drive made.

"The agreement between all the parties was that we would appoint an expert to do the mirror image," Wagenaar testified.

He further stated that it was agreed that Breytenbach would also delete her private information from the laptop.

State prosecutor Advocate Raymond Mathenjwa gave a different version of events. He said Breytenbach and Wagenaar never asked for authority and simply did what they wanted to do. 

Both Breytenbach and Wagenaar testified that there were NPA officials present and none of them objected. The officials even assisted, they said, by requesting an authorisation code for the deletion of files.

READ: Breytenbach believed the NPA would tamper with her computer

Breytenbach previously told the court that she had the mirror image made because she believed that the NPA was not above tampering with, and manipulating, the contents of the hard drive after she had handed it in.

"It has been done before," Breytenbach told the court.

Mdluli case 'at the heart' of the matter

Previously, during her evidence-in-chief, Breytenbach said the case against former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli was at the heart of the reason for her suspension and the subsequent criminal charges levelled against her.

Breytenbach was involved in the Mdluli case as the specialised commercial crimes unit was investigating him for fraud, theft and corruption.

She testified that she had become more involved when the investigating officers told her that there was interference by police and the NPA.

She testified that Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi was appointed as the head of the specialised commercial crimes unit and interfered with the Mdluli case by demanding that the charges against him be withdrawn, despite a prima facie case against Mdluli.

Earlier this year, Breytenbach and Wagenaar were acquitted on two counts of obstructing or defeating the ends of justice - which relates to their refusal to hand over an official laptop computer to NPA officials who were investigating acts of misconduct against Breytenbach.   

Both the defence and the State will now file their heads of arguments before the judgment is made.

Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  lawrence mrwebi

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