AS IT HAPPENED: Blood stains analysed during cross examination in Van Breda trial

2017-08-08 10:13

The murder case against Henri Van Breda has resumed in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town where Lieutenant Colonel Sharlene Otto took the stand, as forensic evidence continued to be analysed.

News24 journalist Tammy Petersen is reporting from court. Follow her here.
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Last Updated at 03:23
08 Aug 12:56
Court is adjourned to Thursday.

08 Aug 12:52

Otto says if she has one suspect, one vicitim, one blood stain, she will do that one stain.

If one victim, one suspect, and she has a stain on front and back, she will do both.

SOPs guide them. We are trainined in checking evidentiary value.

At any time in investigation they can get more samples.


08 Aug 12:50

In this instance where defence has all SOPs, they would have noticed that SOP guiding that says when there are multiple victims, multiple suspects, that everything must be submitted.

Everything had been but in this instance, it had not been submitted from the beginning.

Everything had been analysed and submitted, but situation meant there were five victims.

In this case, nothing was missed.


08 Aug 12:45
Otto says people working in DNA process is working blindly.

08 Aug 12:45
All stains for possible blood on shorts were analysed.

08 Aug 12:44
Cost and time and other cases need to be considered.

08 Aug 12:44
If you have to deal with 90 stains when you can do 40, then later another 40, then 10, then you can have more samples from other exhibits.

08 Aug 12:44

Otto says in this instance, she was led by the blood stain pattern analyst. He checked first - before shorts came he analysed it.

Analysis was done at different time. He helped her because they couldn't submit 90 stains. Randomly picked stains.


08 Aug 12:41

Get cover letter detailing the background of the case.

DNA analysis is extremely expensive. SAPS don't have unlimited funds. They have to find a way to look at the samples and decide what to put through the process.


08 Aug 12:38
Have to check the evidenciary value, Otto says.

08 Aug 12:38
Analysts are all specialists. If have 50 samples taken in one room, why send 50? Why not do 10? They know how to think forensically.

08 Aug 12:37
Otto says this was a big case with extremely many samples.

08 Aug 12:31
Same process happened with shorts.

08 Aug 12:31
He has his own lab, Otto says. He would seal it and send back to case reception and then come back to them.

08 Aug 12:31
Cuttings from duvet were also received. Otto says he has to work on whole exhibit, he would make cuttings and go into individual envelopes and marked it .

08 Aug 12:30
Combrink asks about the duvets. Covers were sent by Captain Joubert. Otto says yes, he is also a client, can be received by him or by detective.

08 Aug 12:29
Analyst will then mark all exhibits with lab number.

08 Aug 12:28
If in one big bag, lab number will be outside on the big bag, case file allocated and handed to analyst.

08 Aug 12:28
It must be sealed, unsealed not accepted. If from morgue they have reference numbers, Cas number is the important aspect.

08 Aug 12:27
Samples recieved at a case management and reception section where exhibits handed in and registered. A lab number is allocated to a Cas number.

08 Aug 12:24
Combrink asks why they are not accredited. Otto says she doesn't know. She says they work for SAPS and its management, she has no idea why it didnt go any further.

08 Aug 12:21
Otto says one of the main reasons why is that because the layman would think that because not accredited, results may not be as reliable. There is exception by bodies and the courts that accreditation is the answer to reliability.

08 Aug 12:19
It is possible, Otto says.

08 Aug 12:19
In 2000, the FSL had professed it was on the verge of being accredited, Combrink says.

08 Aug 12:18
Duplicate tests will prove it is trustworthy. We don't have many accredited laboratories in SA.

08 Aug 12:16

A lab can be accredited and a month later they can lose their accreditation.

It is important that they have been applying to be accredited she says.


08 Aug 12:15
Compliance to international standard is more important, Otto says.

08 Aug 12:14
Accrediation is a nice to have.

08 Aug 12:14
Accreditation is not a legal requirement. Follow ISO guidelines. Hopefully by early next year they will be accredited.

08 Aug 12:14
Combrink questions lab accreditation. Otto says she was working at the lab for 24 years, their lab is not accredited. The only difference between them and an accredited lab is an audit by SANAS.

08 Aug 12:13
Combrink says this was not provided to the defence. Otto says no, it was not requested.

08 Aug 12:11
She doesn't keep record of non-conformance. It is registered at lab, but they don't keep record in their case files.

08 Aug 12:10
Can't recall if she dealt with a non-conformance. Analysed 216, might have been a non-conformance, but when report was sent out, there wasn't an outstanding non-conformance.

08 Aug 12:09
Otto says if there had been a non-conformance registered and corrective action applied and redone, there is no reason why final result can't be used.

08 Aug 12:08
If it's picked up, then the result can't be used and test has to be redone.

08 Aug 12:08
Only way she picks up if SOPs not followed, there is a failure in negative or positive control, samples switched, contamination, Otto will be able to pick it up.

08 Aug 12:06
Otto says it depends on the seriousness of the breach. If pixels aren't correct, data analysis still perfect, still have a result.

08 Aug 12:05
So if SOP not followed, result has to be discarded? Yes, Otto says.

08 Aug 12:05
If there is a problem, they can go back to check the footage. One can check the way the analyst handled the sample.

08 Aug 12:04
The batch will then be redone, Otto confirms.

08 Aug 12:03
Combrink asks if person wasn't wearing gloves, would it still be included (even if corrective measures taken)? Otto says if it's not picked up by supervisors or cameras, and find a breach, none of the samples will then be used.

08 Aug 12:00
Otto says she isn't present in lab when analysis takes place. But because SOPs put control measures and checks in place, they know that as that sample moves through the process, control measures and guidelines in place to allow a result as sample passed all other controls and quality guidelines.

08 Aug 11:51
Chain of custody being questioned. If SOP not followed, its a big problem and will be negated, Combrink asks. Otto says should an unsealed exhibit be recieved, it won't be analysed.

08 Aug 11:50
Otto says SOPs are intricate, should one of the things not be there, doesn't mean result is invalid.

08 Aug 11:49
If SOP procedure not followed, do you note it? Combrink asks. Otto says should it happen that due to work pressure of change in set up, usually a deviation is written to that SOP, and once signed and dated, they work accordingly.

08 Aug 11:46
Combrink asks if SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) not followed, that exhibit will not be tested? Otto says SOPs is like a user manual. If you dont follow steps correctly, the result will not be usable.

08 Aug 11:41
Advocate Matthys Combrink to cross examine.

08 Aug 11:29

08 Aug 10:15

08 Aug 10:14

No unknown DNA found in Van Breda house - chief forensic analyst

DNA belonging to Rudi and Teresa van Breda was found under triple murder accused Henri van Breda's fingernails and in a corner of the shower, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

No unknown DNA was found in the family’s luxury De Zalze Estate home.

The 22-year-old's trial resumed more than a month after proceedings were adjourned with the testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Sharlene Otto, the police’s chief forensic analyst.

She also confirmed that Henri, Teresa and Rudi’s blood was found on the floor in the corner of the shower.

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