Witness defends CCTV system during artist's trial

2015-06-15 16:25
Mthethwa (L) seen leaving court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Mthethwa (L) seen leaving court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - A man who installed CCTV equipment that allegedly captured artist Zwelethu Mthethwa killing a sex worker, tried to convince the Western Cape High Court on Monday that the system could not easily be tampered with.

“The fact that the video footage could be reviewed means that the footage wasn't corrupted. The recording system’s integrity was intact,” said Eagle Technology’s Nathan Bearman, who installed the systems at two sites in Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock.

“The manufacturer gives heavy weight to this. If the footage can be played back then that is a good sign.”

He said any such system had several security layers, namely that the recorder was kept secure from theft or tampering, there was password protection, it had a time-date stamp and watermark, and that only the recorder itself could put footage onto a hard drive.

Bearman, who has 14 years’ experience in the field, was testifying as a State witness during a trial-within-a-trial, which would determine whether the footage was authentic and could be admitted as evidence. The court was hearing testimony after Mthethwa’s defence had objected to its authenticity and reliability.

The footage has not yet been shown in court.

Mthethwa has pleaded not guilty to kicking sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo to death in Woodstock, Cape Town, on April 14 2013.

The State alleges that CCTV footage captured the artist stopping his black Porche 911 Carrera close to Kumalo in Ravenscraig Road early that morning. It further alleges that the footage shows the accused exiting his vehicle and “repeatedly kicking her and stamping on her body with booted feet”.

She died as a result of blunt-force trauma.

The artist’s lawyer, William Booth, challenged Bearman’s knowledge, saying he could not call himself an expert, but rather only a sales consultant.

In a booming voice, he put it to the bespectacled witness that a video’s watermark was the most crucial aspect as to whether there had been interference, and that his CCTV systems did not have that.

Bearman disagreed that watermarking was the most important and maintained that the recording device was crucial. He said a watermark could be added to footage later during a back-up, and not many systems encoded the digital information while the camera was live.

“This is the basis, before you are looking at the watermark. You have to look at the integrity of the recording system. You are ignoring the fact that that is actually the thing you should be looking at.”

The witness said the security systems had been working well since being installed and that the client would have reported any technical difficulties to him.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    zwelethu mthethwa  |  cape town  |  crime

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