AS IT HAPPENED: Van Breda defence attempts to discredit forensic expert

2017-08-11 09:39

The case against Henri Van Breda for allegedly killing his two parents, brother, and wounding his sister with an axe resumes in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town.

News24 journalist Tammy Petersen is reporting from court. Follow her here.

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Last Updated at 19:49
11 Aug 14:59
Court is adjourned. We will back back at 10am on Monday! 

11 Aug 14:53
Jude Desai now asking his own questions

11 Aug 14:51

Galloway now asks of Locard principle - Otto says the principle tells you that every touch leaves a trace. If dressed in PPE and she is involved in a struggle, she wont transfer onto him, but he will transfer onto her.

Could be left behind as you make your way through a door as blood on clothes means there will be secondary transfer.


11 Aug 14:49
Combrink concludes cross examination.

11 Aug 14:46
Otto says an intruder wearing a balaclava and gloves and is involved in a struggle would not leave a lot of DNA . Face and head area are huge shedders of DNA.

11 Aug 14:44
Combrink says it is quite possible that if someone was there they didn't leave a trace.

11 Aug 14:44
No, she says.

11 Aug 14:44
Combrink asks if Sergeant Kleynhans' (who took photos at scene) DNA wasn't picked up.

11 Aug 14:42
She insists she will not speculate.

11 Aug 14:41
Alleles being looked at. Otto refuses to call or entertain it. "I am not going to call it. I am not going to make a statement on it."

11 Aug 14:36

Desai asks Combrink how long he is still expected to take. 

At most 10 minutes, it appears.


11 Aug 14:15
New live stream up. 

11 Aug 14:14

We are back in court after lunch. Judge Desai will be attending the Omar funeral at 15:30 so the session will conclude in the next hour.


11 Aug 12:42

Court breaks for lunch. 

(Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Jaco Marias)


11 Aug 12:32
She can only include someone in mixture result if looks at whole profile.

11 Aug 12:31

Very technical evidence in DNA.

Otto says that children share 50% of their mothers DNA, which complicates profiles.


11 Aug 12:28
Otto says she doesn't know how the DNA got there. "I must compare and relay."

11 Aug 12:28

Everywhere there is mixture between Henri, Rudi and Teresa, could very well be a mixture of Henri and Rudi, Combrink says.

Otto says it could be.


11 Aug 12:27
Is there a distinction between the 3 people? No. But the reference samples can be read into it. The children share their DNA with their mother.

11 Aug 12:25
It's possible that its only three people, or only two. I don't know how DNA ended up there. Look at mixture and compare it to the references. It's possible that its only two people, also that it's three.

11 Aug 12:24
I am not here to try and link anybody to any crime, that is not my job, says Otto.

11 Aug 12:22
I am an objective witness, Otto says.

11 Aug 12:17
Looking at samples of the family. Otto says they are all related. Combrink asks if they are then compared in the mixture samples. Unknown DNA is reported as unknown DNA, Otto explains.

11 Aug 12:09
Combrink says staff transgressed their SOPs. Otto says he has been repeating himself.

11 Aug 12:03
This will clear up all the issues of SOPs that we are not following, or that we are not accredited. Take it, she tells Combrink.

11 Aug 12:03
She tells Combrink to take all the samples and test it. Put them on different batches and see what result you get, an exasperated Otto insists.

11 Aug 11:57
Good lab practice must prevail she says. Does it invalidate the sample? No.

11 Aug 11:56
Combrink says its not been followed. Otto says she doesn't have control over how the work lists are generated. When she does analysis, she doesn't check if samples are next to each other to make her analysis.

11 Aug 11:55

SOP related to contamination being referred to. Otto says no contamination picked up from any analyst.

Results obtained was mostly single full profiles. Samples contains the DNA of five family members.

If we have 216 samples, it is possible that two samples may end up on the same shortlist.


11 Aug 11:50
Judge says there are other cases that need to be heard in the court and Combrink needs to get on with it.

11 Aug 11:49

Combrink has a list of documentary evidence requests. 

Galloway counters: We are in trial, they requested further particulars extensively prior to the trial, now we are in the trial.


11 Aug 11:39
But that's out of my control," she adds.

11 Aug 11:39
Otto concedes that she is not wearing the full kit.

11 Aug 11:38
Shoe has open skin and no shoe covers, Combrink says.

11 Aug 11:38
Combrink says the person is wearing some of the PPE.

11 Aug 11:38
Judge Desai says the photos are not a complete picture.

11 Aug 11:37
One needs to know the circumstances, Otto says

11 Aug 11:37

Otto says she doesn't know who is standing in the pics. Yes, person not wearing safety shoes, but that person may just be assisting with taking photos.

Full PPC must be worn. When you are the analyst dealing with the exhibits, these people may have been walking past the lab.


11 Aug 11:34

One of the SOPs being analysed. Personnel's PPEs being looked at.

Combrink shows a photo which shows staff not wearing full gear. Otto says one isn't wearing open shoes, and the other is wearing safety boots.

She isn't contaminating because we didn't pick up DNA, Otto says.


11 Aug 11:31
Combrink back to questioning Otto.

11 Aug 11:28
Quick adjournment. 

11 Aug 11:05

Otto says in this case, there was a family of five victims attacked in their family home. Allegedly an axe was used. You expect to find blood on the scene. Blood was found on the scene.

As there were five victims, all of them were attacked. You would expect to find family DNA in this house. Nobody before me even knows what they are dealing with. They cant change it. The DNA is already in there.


11 Aug 11:03
Comrink says getting the result is not important. Following the SOPs is.

11 Aug 11:02
Don't confuse the court with all sorts of calculations, its not important, Otto tells Combrink.

11 Aug 10:54
Our systems allow us to take that sample further. Should it be degraded to an extent we wont get a full result.

11 Aug 10:54
With DNA, you cant see it. Its a solution. The only time I will know that I am working with degraded DNA is at the end of the process.

11 Aug 10:53
Yes, 39 samples loaded, but according to our SOP and PCR, the results obtained are valid, reliable.

11 Aug 10:52
Otto says average forensic sample is not your optimal sample. But she says one can still work with samples of a lower quality.

11 Aug 10:49
Watch the live stream here

11 Aug 10:47

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