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

2017-08-15 10:07

The Van Breda trial has continued into day 33 of the proceedings in the Western Cape High Court where forensic expert Warrant Officer Lorraine Nel has given testimony to DNA samples handed over as evidence.

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

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Last Updated at 10:04
15 Aug 12:34
Court has adjourned.

15 Aug 12:24

Galloway says no further witnesses available for today.

Next witness will be available tomorrow.

15 Aug 12:22
Statement by Dr Marius Smallsmith cites injuries sustained by Marli accepted into evidence.

15 Aug 12:21
Galloway says a statement by Dr Marais, saying he took a reference sample from Marli, accepted into evidence.

15 Aug 12:21
Statements handed in from vehicles which drove into De Zalze night of the murders. Confirms they had driven onto the premises.

15 Aug 12:21
Expiry date of H-sticks not listed. Supposed to be according to SOPs.

15 Aug 12:14
Botha concludes cross examination.

15 Aug 12:13
Swab gaurd wasn't sealed. It should have been sealed. The exhibit bag was sealed, Nel says.

15 Aug 12:12
7 February 2015 - date of test

15 Aug 12:12
If expiry date not recorded, that means they are not complying with SOP. Yes, Nel says.

15 Aug 12:10
No way to verify results? Botha asks. No, Nel says.

15 Aug 12:10

Botha asks how defence can verify with their own experts, Nel says if the swab is still available.

Is it, Botha asks.


15 Aug 12:09
Record of the test is her writing it down, Nel says.

15 Aug 12:09

Botha asks if she says that this isn't prescribed in the SOPs.

Nel says she documents her positive result by writing it down.

15 Aug 12:08
In SOP it says they should, Botha says. Nel asks where it says that in the SOP.

15 Aug 12:08
Nel says they don't keep them. Asked if they take any photos of it, No, Nel says.

15 Aug 12:08
She has it with her, she says.

15 Aug 12:08
Now says she can't recall if the expiry date was included in the documents requested by the defence.

15 Aug 12:07

Exhibit 117. H-stick was used to check for possible presence of blood.

Botha asks where the expiry date is. Nel says it's in the case file.

15 Aug 12:03
Botha goes back to SOP on H-stick testing. It says the indication is that blood may be present. Not conclusive.

15 Aug 12:01
Swab of shower corner - possible presence of blood was found to be positive.

15 Aug 12:00
Another evidence number had been changed from an 8 to a 7. Nel says she received it that way.

15 Aug 11:59
It is supposed to be sealed, she says.

15 Aug 11:59
One of the exhibits (a swabguard) was not sealed, Nel says.                        

15 Aug 11:58
Household products (bleach) can be one of the reason for this.

15 Aug 11:57

Sticks can give false positive, Botha asks.

Yes, Nel says.

15 Aug 11:57
Take a sterile swab, dampen, press area where think blood is, put it on stick and check if it changes colour form yellow to green.

15 Aug 11:52

How do you know if dipstick or luminol used?

Nel says it's documented in case file. Although not in her affidavit.

15 Aug 11:51
She examined the exhibits and tested if blood was possibly present.

15 Aug 11:48
Asks why she didn't call IO or doctor to determine if they took nail scrapings. Her experience with kit meant she knew what the kit had been used for, Nel said.

15 Aug 11:48
Inventory form and box didn't indicate that it contained nail scrapings. Nel wrote this because of the type of swab that was used.

15 Aug 11:47

What indicated "vremde druppel" on hand that it was blood?

She said it looked like blood that's why it had to be tested. Visual determination.

15 Aug 11:45

Nel says it was according to the type of swab that was used.

Did you check for presence of possible blood? No, Nel says, some swabs go straight to DNA, they don't do presumptive tests on them.

15 Aug 11:44

Why write something not contained in exhibit bag?

Nel says it was a pointed swab taken by the doctor under the nail, that's where it comes from. Botha says she assumed (Desai says inferred) this.

15 Aug 11:43
Botha pointing out that one of the descriptions (nail scrapings R hand) didn't correlate with exhibit information.

15 Aug 11:15
Submissions section happens after she has completed her task.

15 Aug 11:13
Of these SOPS are not applicable to evidence recovery, Nel said.

15 Aug 11:12

Refers to SOP which says exhibits must be examined optimally due to cost involved.

If ownership of sample or where found is questioned, the io must be contacted and conversation must be recorded.

15 Aug 11:08
Botha refers to SOPs effective from July 2013.

15 Aug 11:03
Covering letter and inventory form different. Inventory comes inside exhibit bag, covering letter sent by the LCRC member.

15 Aug 11:00

Head of axe swab referred to.

Page attached to it. Nel says she added it.

15 Aug 10:58
Contains handwritten notes from WO Hitchcock.

15 Aug 10:56
Refers to inventory form, which accompanies the exhibits in the exhibit bag.

15 Aug 10:56
Nel explains that in her lab she has a PC at her desk. Exhibit information typed in and printed.

15 Aug 10:56
She wrote down what was inside the bag - two swabs and inventory form.

15 Aug 10:54
Handwritten note is from police officer who sent it. This was how she reiceved it, Nel says.

15 Aug 10:54
Refers to exhibit which shows typed and handwritten information.

15 Aug 10:52
In her affidavit, she refers to 2 separate evidence bags, each containing a hair sample. Received a bag on 10 February containing a hair sample belonging to Marli.

15 Aug 10:48
Also contained a holder with a swab for left and right fingernail.

15 Aug 10:47
In her affidavit, she said on a later date, she reiceved another sealed bag. Inside it, she found fingernail swabbings for a left and right hand which she recorded.

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