Day seven of the Van Breda trial has kicked off and has already provided us with some fascinating insight surrounding the security of De Zalze Estate. Highbury Media director and admitted attorney of the High Court Tracey Stewart is currently at the Cape High Court covering events as they unfold. Here’s what’s been happening today so far.
The most interesting takeout thus far has been that the alarm report, discussed at length last week, is not going to assist the defence. The state lead evidence this morning from De Zalze security manager Marcia Rossouw. Taking the stand, Rossouw provided a high-level view of the security in the estate, a system which was upgraded in September 2014.
Adv. Galloway referred Rossouw to the security report which Advocate Combrink had referred to in his cross-examination of the two patrol officers last week (the report which alleges that 3 alarms were activated that night), Advocate Botha immediately objected to this questioning. Given that the state is referring to the report, we can assume it will be imminently calling author Juan Pietersen* to lead the report to evidence.
However, Advocate Galloway advised that she did not plan on doing so. She indicated that it was being dealt with because the defence had used it in the cross-examination. Galloway went on to state that she could call the author – although this clearly had not been her intention. Advocate Botha argued that by commenting on the report and what it meant, Rossouw was speculating as she was not leading evidence as an expert in alarm systems.
Advocate Galloway replied that she was commenting on facts as someone who works with the security system every day. Judge Desai allowed Galloway to continue dealing with the report, her evidence will only be accepted when the author, Juan Pietersen* gives evidence on it.
Time will tell whether this will be the state or the defence. Rossouw indicated that the alarms referred to in the report are not physical alarm activations but rather “blips” in the alarm system, an interruption indicating a potential issue with the system but not an alarm which has been triggered by a physical activation on the fence.
So, this morning, even more doubt has been cast on those alleged alarm activations. Mr Pietersen, who apparently works remotely with the security system is now a highly anticipated witness. A complete summary of day seven in the trial and talking points to follow later.
*Spelling to be confirmed
Photography K-Leigh Siebritz / HM Images