Cop errors raised in Cape murder trial

2013-11-19 19:36
(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Cape Town - Police made several possible errors during the investigation of murder accused Johannes Christian de Jager, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

De Jager's lawyer Sakkie Maartens was cross-examining Captain Michael Volkwyn, one of four officers who investigated the murder of 18-year-old prostitute Hiltina Alexander.

De Jager has pleaded not guilty to her rape and murder in May 2008, and the murder of 18-year-old Mpumalanga resident Charmaine Mare in January this year.

Volkwyn arrested him on 3 June 2008 and took him to a doctor the next day to obtain hair and blood samples.

Maartens wanted to know if the policeman made a statement confirming the visit to the doctor. Volkwyn replied: "No".

He was asked whether he ever made arrangements with the doctor to take a statement from him. Volkwyn said the doctor completed a pro-forma form.

"The State must have forgotten to give me that," Maartens replied.

All the lawyer had was a statement taken from the doctor this month.

"Why is there no statement taken from there [2008] up until 7 November 2013?" the lawyer asked him.

"Is it not important for the doctor to complete a form when taking hair and blood samples?... To confirm that these were taken in the correct manner and the correct serial numbers were identified?"

Volkwyn replied that it was correct to do so.

Maartens pointed out a discrepancy regarding the date Volkwyn picked up three evidence bags that needed to be taken to a forensic laboratory. According to a police register Volkwyn took the bags on 5 June 2008 but in his statement, he said he collected them on 13 June that year.

Maartens asked him why he mentioned the second date.

"It could just have been a human error," Volkwyn replied.

The lawyer also raised questions about Volkwyn's discovery of an earring in De Jager's bakkie the day of the arrest. He said Alexander's friend, Colin Jacobs, made no mention of the earring in either of his statements in 2008.

"There you had someone who was last seen with the deceased and in his [De Jager's] bakkie and you had an earring which was said to belong to the deceased. Don't you think it's important?" Maartens asked.

Volkwyn said it was important and he had mentioned it in an investigating officer statement. After questioning, it was revealed that no mention of it was made in two of his statements in June 2008.

It was only in a statement in November 2008 that he mentioned he found the earring in the bakkie and confiscated it.

This contradicted his testimony earlier on Tuesday, in which he said that neither he nor De Jager touched the earring and it was the forensic team who confiscated the earring.

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