Van Breda defence zooms in on unsealed evidence bag

2017-08-15 15:26
Henri van Breda is charged with multiple counts of murder. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Henri van Breda is charged with multiple counts of murder. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - One of the evidence bags containing a DNA swab taken from a shower in the Van Breda house was not sealed when received by the SAPS forensic laboratory, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Lorraine Nel, who accepted the exhibits from investigators, confirmed that exhibit 117 had arrived in a sealed evidence bag, but that the individual box had not been sealed, as required.

According to the results, the DNA was found to belong to Henri, Rudi and Teresa van Breda.

An H-stick was used to check for the possible presence of blood, but Nel conceded that it was possible for it to give a false positive by household products such as bleach.

The stick is used in preliminary testing and is presumptive, the court heard.

The result is not conclusive.

AS IT HAPPENED: Presence of blood in shower under scrutiny in Van Breda trial

Mixture sample

Advocate Pieter Botha, for Van Breda, asked for the expiry date of the testing kit, which according to standard operating procedure, should be listed.

Nel could not provide this during cross examination.

Last week, chief forensic analyst Lieutenant-Colonel Sharlene Otto confirmed the DNA collected from the shower was a mixture sample.

During cross examination, she confirmed there was not a distinction between the three people, as the three reference samples are "read into" the examined sample.

Henri and Rudi would have 50% DNA from their mother and it was possible that it only contained two of the three's DNA, Otto conceded, but insisted all she was required to do was compare the mixture to the references.

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

Van Breda, 22, pleaded not guilty to axing his parents and brother to death, seriously injuring his sister Marli and defeating the ends of justice.

He alleged that an intruder wearing a balaclava, gloves and dark clothes was behind the attack, and that he had heard other voices of people speaking Afrikaans in their home in the De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch in January 2015.

Van Breda claimed that, after a fight with the axe-wielding intruder who was also armed with a knife, the man had escaped.

Otto said 216 samples submitted for this case were far more than what they would usually receive.

Despite the high cost of running so many submissions through its systems, as well as the time needed to do this alongside dealing with other cases, all of the samples were tested.

The trial resumes on Wednesday.

Read more on:    henri van breda  |  cape town  |  crime  |  van breda murders

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