I’m not here to attack the State - Van Breda expert

2017-10-17 17:34
Dr Antonel Olckers. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Dr Antonel Olckers. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – Although she stressed the importance of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), DNA expert Dr Antonel Olckers was questioned at length in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday over her refusal to sign a required confidentiality agreement when she accepted police forensic laboratory documents.

The confidentiality agreement states that the receiver must not disclose any information received from forensic science laboratory, about the laboratory, about its reports and information gathered.

'Too wide'

Olckers, the first expert witness to testify for murder-accused Henri van Breda, said she read through the agreement but would not sign because it was "too wide".

The agreement also states that the information cannot be used for one’s own benefit.

This, Olckers said, meant that she could not be paid for the case.

She added that the only commissioners of oath present at the time she was expected to sign the agreement were members of the forensic science laboratory. She wasn’t comfortable asking them to act as witnesses to the signing, she said.

Judge Siraj Desai asked why Olckers could not take the document to a different commissioner of oaths and delete sections she didn’t agree with.

She responded that she would do so in the future.

But State advocate Susan Galloway said Olckers’ refusal created the impression that she was willing to comply with SOPs “as far as it suits [her]”.

Desai also questioned Olckers’ request for SOPs after Galloway pointed out that only the DNA paper trail dealt with the scientific analysis of the results.

He asked her if it was to check scientific veracity or “allow the defence to widen its attack”.

She responded that the SOPs describe how the laboratory should have performed its analysis and allow her to verify if the results are scientifically valid.

“I’m not here to attack the State,” she testified.

The court heard that Olckers had been criticised in a previous case because she had not known the specific laboratory’s SOPs. This is why she now requests it.

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 clothing, was behind the attack. He said he had heard voices of people speaking Afrikaans in their home in the De Zalze Estate in Stellenbosch in January 2015.

Van Breda claimed that the axe-wielding intruder, who also had a knife, escaped.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

News24 (@News24) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from News24 (@News24). News24 is Southern Africa and Africa's premier online news resource reaching over 2.3 million local users each month.

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

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.