Van Breda trial postponed after blood spatter expert takes ill

2017-08-14 11:47
Henri van Breda consults with his defence team in court. (Tammy Petersen/News24)

Henri van Breda consults with his defence team in court. (Tammy Petersen/News24)

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Cape Town – Day 32 of the Henri van Breda trial failed to get off the ground after an expert witness took ill.

Blood spatter analyst Captain Marius Joubert was expected to take to the stand in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

Prosecutor Susan Galloway told Judge Siraj Desai that Joubert had informed the State that he was sick. He is now expected to take to the stand next Monday.

Other witnesses have been arranged for Tuesday, Galloway said, and proceedings were postponed.

Last week, chief forensic analyst Lieutenant Colonel Sharlene Otto testified for four days, telling the court of her findings following the analysis of 216 DNA samples collected from the scene.

DNA belonging to Rudi and Teresa van Breda was found under Henri’s fingernails, and in a corner of the shower.

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.

All DNA samples tested

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 Martin's right-hand nail scrapings showed Rudi’s DNA, while a swab taken from the handle of the knife used in the attack – which comes from the family’s kitchen – only matched Rudi.

Otto said the number of samples submitted 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.

Van Breda’s defence attorney Advocate Matthys Combrink last week produced photos of the laboratory at the time samples were tested, which showed staff not wearing shoe covers, as required in its standard operating procedures.

Otto conceded that processes appeared to not have been followed, but insisted that if contamination had taken place, the person’s DNA would have been found in the sample results.

She also said the person not wearing the full protective gear would not necessarily have been working with the samples, and would therefore not be required to be completely covered.

She stood by the lab’s findings.

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

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