Jump to content

The Van Breda murder trial

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 214
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I am honestly not quite certain as the trial did proceed even when the appeal and judgment were still being considered.


I read in IOL that Judge Desai first ruled that some broadcastings may be made with the exception of Marli's testimony which may only be note recorded.


Which instills in me the idea that she is indeed on the witness list.


Sent from my SM-G955F using the Platinum Wealth app

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Day 28 or Day 27 (as no one seems to be sure) has arrived with great anticipation.


News24 has apparently been streaming the trial (today's) albeit I was under the impression they are not allowed to? Some testimonies are not aired when the testifier objects and Desai needs to grant this. UPDATE: After some research, I see News24 has an audio stream of the trial which I tried listening to but I could not skip forward at all because then I lose the audio. Honestly, what is the point?


If I could be there myself I definitely would be. These people are making reporting increasingly difficult.


Sharlene Otto testified today, she is a lieutenant colonel.


She is attached to the biology section of SAPS Forensic Laboratory. She has 24 years of service with a B.Sc Degree at UFS and "extensive training" in DNA Analysis.


Every single person's DNA is made up 50% of their father and 50% from their mother. 


She said they receive any swabs from scenes in a sealed condition at the lab where analysis then takes place. The analysists do not know from which cases the bags come from so as to remain objective with each case. 


The testing happens as follows:

Preliminary Test

DNA Isolation Phase

Quantification Phase

Polymerase Chain Reaction Phase


And then Data Analysis is done.


She said they analysed 216 samples. They keep high quality, international standards when it comes to quality control. Analysts undergo proficiency testing each year.  


She then talked about the DNA of each and where it was found. No new or unexpected places. But then, in a second report, scrapings from under Henri's nails have Teresa's, Rudi's and Martin's DNA. 


There was a mixture of different DNAs on the bottom of the axe handle. Henri's DNA can be read but not enough of any others were found to be discerned. A swab from the corner of the shower floor also reads that of Henri, Teresa and Rudi. 

Touch DNA from the handle of the knife came back as only positive for Rudi. Rudi's DNA was also found in the scrapings from underneath Martin's nails. 


On the shorts Henri was wearing DNA from Henri, Teresa and Rudi can be read. 


Otto said they had optimal samples as there was a lot of blood on the scene. 


She said there may have been mixed samples of DNA but there was no unknown DNA on the bottom of the axe handle. 


Galloway asked her what the odds are of someone entering and not leaving a trace to which Otto explained the Locard Principle - Every touch leaves a trace. 


The "blood" on the laundry door was tested and turned out to not be blood. 


The court is adjourned until tomorrow.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 29 arrived. A short day in court as Sharlene Otto continued her testimony on DNA.


I watched some of the live trial. And I can tell you I was impressed with Sharlene, a real sassy lady who took no nonsense from Combrink. 


She said that even though it takes a lot of money and time for samples to be tested, all 216 samples were tested. She wanted to make it clear that the SAPS Forensic Laboratory was reliable even though it was not an accredited establishment. The only difference between unaccredited and credited is an audit by the South African National Accreditation System.


On a side note, Desai asked that cameras will not roll when Marli van Breda testifies. 


The court is adjourned until Thursday. Enjoy Women's Day.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Today in court, the sassy Sharlene Otto was back on the stand. 


Swab 63’s paper trail was requested which she has today. Swab 63 is the “blood” that was found on the laundry door that is not blood. 


Sharlene said that at least 20 staff members worked on the van Breda samples. Which is a lot of manpower for the lab that has about 60 staff, including admin staff. 


Otto said that it takes anything from a week to a month before a sample is finished being analyzed. She said that only one person dealt with swab 63. Otto once again reassured the court that the lab is state of art. 


Otto said that the kits SAPS use are bought from US companies and that it gets used in labs all over the world. Desai jokingly asked Sharlene if it is the same ones they use on CSI.


Otto once again says that they use very strict procedures and that nothing went wrong with any of the 216 samples. Otto was clearly frustrated with Combrink and told him that they were going in circles. 


Combrink then asked how her competency is verified. Otto said that she has had years of training and mentorship, not to mention the yearly proficiency tests that happen internally (national) or externally (international).


Otto said that samples below standard are not ignored but amplification kits are used when the input DNA is too low. 


The court is adjourned until tomorrow.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a whole lot happened today in court as Sharlene Otto took the stand again.


Combrink tried to besmirch the Laboratory in which the samples were tested by showing a picture where some of the people in the lab were not wearing complete coverings as per standard procedures.


Otto clapped back and said that when someone is not working with the samples it is not necessary that they wear all the covers.


And that is it. Until Monday as far as I know.


Have a good weekend.


Sent from my SM-G955F using the Platinum Wealth app

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you will still be waiting a while.


The past two days in court have been rather uneventful. To the point of boring.


Combrink was zooming in on an evidence box that was not sealed but was sealed inside a bag when it arrived at the SAPS laboratory. Otto confirmed this but said the sample was not contaminated or else they would have known.


Today in court Sergeant Apollis testified that nobody matching the description of the intruder given by Henri van Breda had ever been found.


Botha pointed out there was a not a lot they could go on if the person was wearing a balaclava. Apollis responded and said that they had gotten perpetrators before with less information, but no one knows anything of the "big" intruder in the De Zalze estate.


He said that the police are generally aware of the usual suspects involved in crime in the area, however, no one could give information on this person Henri described.


The trial continues on Monday.


Sent from my SM-G955F using the Platinum Wealth app

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...