The Van Breda murder trial
The trial continues on Monday, 16 October, Desai is eager to get the case moving.
Antonel Olckers will be testifying on Monday. She obtained her PhD in Molecular Human Genetics from the University of Pretoria with research being done at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore, USA.

Today was a terribly long day in court, Desai was on a roll with his sass. Dr Antonel Olckers testified.

She founded DNAbiotec in 2001 and has served as its CEO since then. The cross examination continued and Desai had to keep asking for clarity in Dr Olckers' answers. She redrafted her testimony after Lieutenant Colonel Otto had already testified. When asked by Advocate Galloway about her report, she admitted that her findings were a "summary", as resources had dwindled and the scope narrowed. "I reported on what I was given time to look."

She had four weeks in total to write a report. Desai asked if she had prepared a scientific report. He asked why she did not prepare an independent report, "before your mind is clouded". The defence objected to this but Desai rejected it.

Olckers said that most of her positions have been academic in nature. Galloway said/asked, "The closest practical lab work that you did was listed in 1985?"

Olckers has very little experience in lab work. She trains other academics and scientists. She says the training is laboratory based.

Advocate Galloway did a fine job undermining Olckers' experience. Advocate Galloway said that DNAbiotec is then a consulting/training company, not a lab. To which Olckers said the training is lab based and hands-on. Olckers conceded that their company is not a diagnostics laboratory.

Olckers does analysis and interpretation of results that come from the lab. She defended her view that she has made a contribution to publications in human genetics.

Desai asks why Olckers has her work with students on her CV, what is the relevance? She said that when applying for grants it is sometimes necessary.

According to Olckers she was called by the defence and "paid" for her services. She didn't want to use the word hired. To which Desai said, "There's nothing sinister about that."

When Galloway asked whether Olckers has done a proficiency test, she does not give a straightforward answer. Desai intervened and said, "So, the simple answer is you have not done a proficiency test?"
Olckers said she has never worked in a forensics lab. She has no statistician as part of her team, Desai rested his head on his hand.

Olckers was called to assess the validity of Lt Col Otto's reports. She was asked to verify whether the results generated, were according to standards.

Olckers said that no entity audits her work. But if there had been concern that she would have been reported to the Health Professions Council SA. But no one audits the research labs. It's work peer reviewed. Olckers has never examined the SA Police Service Act.

Dr Olckers could not explain why she ignored said act. Desai was exasperated at this saying how could she not be aware if she is an expert in the field?

Galloway was shooting shot after shot at Olckers and seemingly succeeded in undermining the defence's expert witness.

Galloway said that Olckers sat in court while Otto testified and passed notes to the court. Olckers said that that is correct.

Court adjourned briefly after lunch so the defence could speak with Henri as Henri wanted to make an instruction.

The defence wanted to put on record that Henri is concerned with Desai's demeanor and interaction with the witness. Judge Desai then asked if they are asking for his recusal? (which means being removed from his judicial authority in this case) Desai said he will make note of this and wants the case to continue.

Galloway said that Olckers is not accredited and has never done a proficiency test. Olckers conceded that she is not a blood spatter expert.

Olckers was then asked to explain DNA to the court. Once again giving extensive answers in which Galloway cut her short.

An interesting day to say the least. Court continues tomorrow.

(I do apologize for the late reply but this took a while to compile and I was away from the news)

I look forward to seeing how this will go.

Thanks for the update Carly!

Jeepers, note to self, never label oneself as an "expert" in anything coz clearly you need to know something about everything in order to pull that hat out of your rear-end.

Albeit, that ought to be common knowledge, amIrite?

Olckers continued being grilled by Galloway today (yesterday, late post).

Olckers said that DNA can easily be contaminated either inadvertently or maliciously. Not all the analysts would have to be involved.

Olckers also refused to sign the required confidentiality agreement from the Forensic Science Lab, claiming it's "too wide". Desai said that she could have taken the form to another commissioner of oaths and deleted the parts she did not want. However, this was not done. Olckers said that she will in the future draft her own.

She also said the agreement meant she could not get paid as it states information may not be used for personal benefit.

The court also heard that Olckers has been criticized in a previous case for not knowing Standard Operating Procedures. To which Olckers replied that that is why she now requests them. As they are necessary for her to verify the validity of scientific results.

The court resumes tomorrow (today) at 9.30am.

Apologies for the delay.

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