Sat Sep 23 00:27:05 CAT 2017

Van Breda lawyer finds a chink in tests for blood at axe murder house

By Tanya Farber | 2017-08-15 14:15:14.0

An unsealed swab guard in the Van Breda triple-axe murder trial could come back to haunt the state’s case.

On Tuesday Henri van Breda’s defence counsel‚ Piet Botha‚ cross-examined Warrant Officer Lorraine Nel‚ who received exhibits from the Stellenbosch murder scene to test for the presence of blood.

Van Breda stands accusing of axing his parents‚ Martin and Teresa‚ and brother Rudi to death in 2015‚ and attempting to murder his sister Marli.

Botha took Nel through the lab’s procedures‚ looking for loopholes along the way‚ and found one when he reached exhibit 117: the guard on a swab used to testing for blood in the shower at the Van Breda family home in De Zalze was not sealed – although the bag in which it was contained was.

The blood in the shower also came under the spotlight last week when it was revealed in the high court in Cape Town that DNA from Rudi and Henri was found in the shower – and possibly that of Teresa.

“Where is the seal on this exhibit?” Botha asked Nel.

“This exhibit was not sealed‚” she replied. “I received them in a sealed state (in the bag) but the swab guard itself was not sealed.”

State prosecutor Susan Galloway pointed out that Nel had merely done presumptive tests to ascertain if blood was present‚ whereas the DNA tests done by another section were the conclusive ones.

The lengthy cross-examination came after Galloway questioned Nel for four minutes. The prosecutor asked if the exhibits she had received were the same ones she had tested. Nel said yes‚ and confirmed that any discrepancies she encountered had been resolved.

It also came to light on Tuesday that there is a document detailing Marli’s injuries‚ but Desai said the press was barred from reporting on its contents.

The case continues on Wednesday.