HENRI VAN BREDA’S DNA ON AXE HAN­DLE

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

THE chief foren­sic an­a­lyst at the po­lice foren­sic lab­o­ra­tory has told the Western Cape High Court that “no un­known DNA was found on the scene” of the Van Breda fam­ily home in the lux­ury De Zalze Es­tate in Stel­len­bosch.

Henri van Breda, 22, is on trial for al­legedly mur­der­ing his mother, fa­ther and older brother on Jan­uary 27, 2015. His sis­ter Marli, who was 16 at the time, sur­vived the sav­age at­tack.

Van Breda has claimed that a laugh­ing, axe-wield­ing in­truder wear­ing gloves, a bala­clava and dark cloth­ing, was the at­tacker.

But yes­ter­day, DNA ex­pert Lieu­tenant-Colonel Shar­lene Otto said no “un­known DNA” was found in the 216 sam­ples her lab­o­ra­tory an­a­lysed.

She told the court that “every touch leaves a trace” in ac­cor­dance with the “Lo­card prin­ci­ple” (named af­ter Dr Ed­mond Lo­card).

Otto said nail scrap­ings taken from Henri’s left hand con­tained the mixed DNA of him­self, his mother Teresa and his brother Rudi.

A blood sam­ple taken from the bot­tom of the axe han­dle also had a “mix­ture re­sult”. Otto said Henri’s DNA could be read into the mix­ture, as well as the DNA of others, but there was not enough to read a full pro­file.

A swab of blood from the head of the axe again showed a mix­ture re­sult of both male and fe­male DNA be­long­ing to Teresa and Rudi.

Otto tes­ti­fied that blood found on the cor­ner of the shower floor was also a mix­ture of DNA pro­files – Rudi’s, Teresa’s and Henri’s.

The han­dle of a knife con­tained touch DNA that be­longed to Rudi.

The lieu­tenant-colonel said fin­ger­nail swab­bing of the fa­ther Martin’s hand also showed a mix­ture pro­file, but the only full pro­file that could be ex­tracted was of Rudi’s DNA.

She said they did not usu­ally an­a­lyse over 200 sam­ples, but in this case there must have been “many blood­stains”.

“We did not strug­gle to get DNA. I sus­pect there must have been lots of blood.

“We didn’t strug­gle to get op­ti­mal DNA re­sults. None of my DNA re­sults are sur­pris­ing. In all the re­sults, we were able to ob­tain dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions on the same theme. That in it­self is nor­mal and to be ex­pected.”

Otto told the court that the blood on the bot­tom of the axe han­dle con­tained Henri’s DNA. “We could not iden­tify any­one else other than Henri in this spe­cific sam­ple.”

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, the court­room was abuzz while me­dia out­lets set up video cam­eras as Van Breda’s trial re­sumed fol­low­ing an al­most two-month break.

Judge Si­raj De­sai ear­lier this year said he did not ob­ject to the film­ing of court pro­ceed­ings af­ter Me­dia24 brought an ap­pli­ca­tion to be al­lowed to livestream the case.

But both the State and the de­fence were op­posed to livestream­ing and ap­proached the Supreme Court of Ap­peal (SCA) to in­ter­vene.

The SCA set aside Judge De­sai’s ini­tial order and re­ferred it back to him, giv­ing him a guide­line or set of prin­ci­ples to re­fer to.

Es­sen­tially, it ruled that the de­fault po­si­tion must be that the me­dia must be al­lowed to livestream, un­less there is an ob­jec­tion. Judge De­sai granted the order on Thurs­day that the me­dia be al­lowed to livestream the court pro­ceed­ings, un­less there was an ob­jec­tion from a par­tic­u­lar wit­ness, the de­fence or the pros­e­cu­tion.

The pros­e­cu­tion ob­jected to the livestream­ing of Otto’s tes­ti­mony as she tes­ti­fied about the stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures at the po­lice’s foren­sic lab­o­ra­tory.

Pros­e­cu­tor Su­san Gal­loway said these needed to re­main con­fi­den­tial. Judge De­sai or­dered the cam­eras to stop record­ing her tes­ti­mony.

Otto be­gan by ex­plain­ing what DNA is. “DNA is the mol­e­cule of life,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.