The Defence’s DNA expert witness, Dr Antonel Olckers, was back in the witness stand today as Advocate Galloway resumed her line of questioning in cross-examination.
Following yesterday, when Henri van Breda raised the issue with his Defence council about Judge Desai’s apparent impatience, tone of voice and demeanour with the witness in the stand, the accused looked agitated once more this morning when Judge Desai stepped in to clarify few points with Olckers during cross-examination. While the exchange took place a note was passed from van Breda to his council – possibly about Desai’s perceived demeanour. However, no further objections from the Defence in this regard occurred as Galloway changed direction in her questioning.
In light of yesterday’s matter regarding Olckers preparing her report only after hearing the testimony of Col. Sharlene Otto, it was put on record by the witness that she had prepared a summary report before she had heard the testimony of the State’s DNA expert witness.This helped clarify yesterday’s point which came across as contrary, shedding light on the fact that it was a summary, and not so much a report as initially stated.
After lunch, Galloway focused her attention to SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures), again reaffirming with the witness the importance of them in the field of forensic science. However, in what was potentially the day’s biggest talking point, Dr. Olckers told the court about her refusal to sign a required confidentiality agreement, a binding document which states that the receiver must not disclose any information received from the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory), about the FSL, about its reports and pertaining information thereof.
Not wanting to benefit financially and the document being too “broad” were cited as reasons for not signing it, drawing the conclusion that she did not want to be paid for the case. Galloway had seemingly anticipated this, beginning a further line of questioning which led to the senior state prosecutor telling the witness that it would seem as if she complied with SOP’s as and when it suited her – in reference to the document not being signed.
Swab number 63 – a blood droplet sample obtained from the laundry door – was brought up shortly toward the day’s adjournment. It was an example where no DNA could be examined from the sample, with Olckers informing the court that it was likely to be blood from an animal. This point was raised as it was one of the few samples which could not be analysed.
The Van Breda trial resumes tomorrow at 09:30. Follow us on Twitter for live updates.
Photography K-leigh Siebritz