On this page we will answer questions that you may have. We will not entertain any personal attacks. Keep it to our work and findings, please. We will try and answer in reasonable time, and will, where possible, consolidate questions.
Since we do not always get a fair chance to answer on attacks on us in the media, we will use this space to do so.
We answer some questions by ‘Janneman’ from London (received 28 Feb 2014):
1. What is the bottom line on Folien 1?
Using this image on your website I used Photoshop to try and measure the height of the item to see if it can be a DVD cover. The distance between 120 mm and 130 mm is 33 px and the height from the top to bottom line is +/- 250 px. This means that the item is between 70-80 mm high. According to Google Images a DVD cover have these dimensions: 14 mm * 129 mm * 184 mm. Source
However, why is that line so much shorter than the top line? Is that really the bottom or did the DVD cover have a mark at that height? Was the photo taken directly above the folien? If taken at an angle my calculation is wrong. Was there any glasses in her house close to that height?
Answer: The bottom line on Folien 1 is not the bottom edge of a DVD cover, also not the edge of ANYTHING.
We must go back to what the lifter said he did (and what we believe he did, because we can replicate it, and previous lifts by him will also support it). He dusted the cover (thus it had a whitish powder on the whole front). He then pasted a first folien (of about 9 x 12 cm) towards the middle/lower part of the front and pulled it off. You can now imagine a woman waxing her legs – ripping of the wax plaster. So this folien ripped a clean strip on the front (the powder sticks to the adhesive side of the folien). This ripped area will have top border and a bottom border. He then pasted another folien onto the front side towards the top, and the bottom of this folien (Folien 1) overlapped that ripped area’s top border slightly. It picked up the top line (border) the previous folien made (the top line of the “waxed area”). This is supported by the fact that there is no friction in the bottom line, as you would get when you rub a folien over the edge of anything. It is a rip line that was picked up by the next folien.
We can just mention that the distance between the lines is an undisputed 80 mm, and a variety of images will prove this. The photo angle may differ from image to image, but the distance is about 80 mm. The bottom line is shorter (side to side) simply because of the way of lifting. Not too much to read into that. In any way it is too straight to have come off a conical glass – and too kinked.
No, no glass of 80 mm was ever produced by the defence and there is no evidence that Inge had such a glass.
2. On your background page you mention that Fred has a strong alibi including security footage. Can you provide more info on that front? If there is security footage, why was not much made of that?
Answer: Fred said he was at work and that he attended a presentation that day. There is footage of him arriving the morning at about 11 am and leaving at about 6 pm.
However, there is a period of 105 minutes in the afternoon for which there is no electronic evidence (i.e. making phone calls, sending SMS’s, sending emails, computer work, etc.) or reliable witnesses that place him in the building. Fred and his father acquired alibi statements from co-workers but eventually the court did not hear any of them on the stand and none was regarded by the court. Eventually they only took Fred’s word and found that it is “redelik moontlik waar” (reasonably possibly true). The state could simply not prove he left the building. It is important to note that the main alibi witness Shahana Toefy did not even testify. In fact the defence would not let her go on the stand. Can just also mention, there were limited cameras those days and according to the security manager himself, if you planned to get out and in unseen, “it would not have been rocket science”. Visit the Footage pages for visuals.
3. According to this page the police officer lied on the stand. Is this true, did he lie on the stand?
Answer: In the absence of any documentation, nobody can ever be sure exactly what was said when Bartholomew visited Bodziak in Florida, USA. It seems that everybody prefers to take Bodziak’s word. Even if Bartholomew lied (or misrepresented what was said to him), we think some defence experts lied way more. Many of them, and this was allowed by a poor prosecution. Bartholomew may have lied about exactly what happened during his visit to Bodziak in Florida, but in our opinion, he was still right and Bodziak wrong. Bartholomew was wrong on the sand grains, but that would have been an extra corresponding point – he already firmly believed the marks fitted – and we believe that as well. The defence succeeded in the typical old trick of sowing doubt by accusing the police of lying – while they were the master deceivers. And those deceptions we can prove.
Not condoning or disregarding police dishonesty – but if we look at the evidence alone, the fact that he lied (if he lied) does not change other evidence – it does for example not make prints shorter or longer or change the size of the wounds or of the striking sides of the implicated hammer. It also does not change the fact that the bloodmarks fit two areas in his shoe.
We answer some questions by ‘Anonymous’ (received 18 Feb 2014):
1. Why was the fingerprint evidence controversial even before the trial started? I remember a headline in the Cape Argus long before the trail.
In late 2005, a couple of months after the murder (and still long before the trial started in 2007) Daan Bekker, an independent expert, was asked by the defence to examine Folien 1. He stated that in his opinion it came from a drinking glass. Then Pat Wertheim’s report came out shortly after Bekker’s, not only suggesting it came from a glass, but accusing the police of fabricating the lift. This concerned the State – they probably had some doubts by then – although they believed it came from the rented DVD cover – maybe a mistake crept in. But they wanted to get internal opinion but by someone who was not directly involved with the case. So they asked Supt Roger Dixon from their Laboratory in Pretoria, to look at Folien 1. We discuss his report here, about which we have strong reservations, and he also said the lift came from a drinking glass. This compelled the State to withdraw the fingerprint evidence, although it was brought back later again after the defence started making allegations of evidence fabrication.
We discuss our findings and that of experts and scientist on this website, but in short, neither Bekker nor Wertheim nor Dixon employed any scientific method in their evaluation and it largely relied on visual interpretation, which resulted in some very questionable remarks and findings.
2. Is there any evidence that the fingerprints indeed came from the respective DVD cover?
What we must remember, is that all documentation, testimonies and context suggest that a DVD cover was dusted and that a lift was taken from it. Even the defence accepts this. The defence however believes that this folien was later swopped with another folien that was lifted from a drinking glass touched by Fred during a police interview (becuase no such glass was found on the scene). This fabrication theory was rejected by the Court of Appeals. If we can prove it is not from a glass (as can be done and as we did), then surely you should go back to the original version, sworn to by several police officers, unless you can come up with another object. During the criminal trial, the civil trial and during the Appeals Court proceedings the defence has never claimed that Folien 1 came from another flat surface in Inge’s flat. Up to this day this mysterious glass was never found and there is no evidence of the existence thereof.
3. Why did the police take the DVD cover back to the shop before the trial?
Admittedly it was a dumb thing to do. One can argue about the merits of it, but when you take a lift from an object the lift becomes your evidence. The DVD case for example would have been contaminated after dusting and lifting. The best would have been to keep it sealed in an evidence bag and then to examine it. But since they did the lifting at the scene, there was not much use for it afterwards. At that point in time the police did not yet know the importance of the DVD case – it was just another object from which they lifted a print. The importance of it only became evident later, when the cover was given back already. They did not consider it practical to store every object from which they lift prints – although one can perhaps argue that exceptions should be made for murder cases. But hindsight is golden. What we must ask ourselves, if the police wanted to ‘get rid of the cover’ by giving it back, why didn’t they rather just throw it away? A cover like that is highly replaceable and cheap. There is nothing sinister in giving the case back. It was a oversight, at most. The bigger mistake was that the police did not take a photo of the prints on the case, but they did not do so with any of the prints on other surfaces and objects – as policy did not dictate it. Important also to remember, at that specific stage they did not know that the cover would become so important and controversial. At that stage it was just another lift. Only when Fred’s prints were matched to Folien 1, did the cover became important – even more than any other lift – since it could place somebody on the scene after 3 pm (because Inge only tented the DVD ate about 3 pm).
This issue of giving back the DVD cover was and is used to deflect from the issues and to create doubt. It would have been good and right if they kept it, but they didn’t, and it should not signal the end of the story.
4. Have anyone spoken to Fred’s colleague who testified that Fred was working with him the whole day and who was threatened by the investigating officer to change his testimony or to be charged as an accomplice.
You probably refer to Stefanus De Wet van der Spuy. He could only testify to Fred’s presence in Old Mutual after about 17:15 to 17:30. Shahana Toefy is the one that alleged that she was with him most of the day during a presentation (which by the way took place on te 15th and not the 16th). We have not spoken to Shahana Toefy ourselves, but we know of another private investigator who tried to contact her to arrange a meeting. She was not cooperative. And apparently she was not cooperative with the police during their investigation. What exactly transpired between Trollip and Toefy, and with Van der Spuy we don’t know. In this case it became difficult to know who to believe, and it further complicated by the involvement of a private security firm hired by the Van der Vyver’s. Trollip’s aggressive behaviour must probably be seen as typical police action – must they beg people for cooperation in a nice and polite way? One can only imagine your own daughter being killed – would one then expect the police to pushy foot around an uncooperative witness? That is not to condone police brutality, but police worldwide have their way of encouraging cooperation where the person does not seem to be willing to cooperate. Toefy had no reason not to cooperate, unless she had something to hide. In hindsight – Trollip knew that Folien 1 was legitimate which of course places a huge question mark over the accuracy of Toefy’s sworn statement – and which police officer would not want to know why?
5. What was the reason Fred’s boss did not testify? Was she also threatened and was she scared?
Why she did not testify, you must ask the defence. They pulled her from the stand at the very last minute – and we must remember she was supposed to be the main alibi witness – and the main defence of the accused was one of alibi. So here we have a main witness who could or could not vouch for the alibi, not testifying. When the judge asked Adv Dup de Bruyn why they pulled her (denying the prosecution a chance to cross-examine her) – he red faced said “we have our reasons”. And the judge left it there. Well, we do not know what those reasons were. At the end of the day the court only took Fred’s word that he was at work during the murder as “redelik moontlik waar” – (“reasonable possibly true”) (obviously supported by the fact that the State could not prove otherwise). Not one single alibi witness, considered reliable by the court, testified to Fred’s presence in Old Mutual between about 15:30 and 17:15 on the day of the murder. In fact, so little weight was attached to his alibi witnesses that the court suggested Fred testify – something he did not want to do initially.
It seems to be well known that Toefy was very nervous, anxious and almost in tears before she was supposed to testify. We do not know why.
What exactly qualifies one as an expert? You are an expert in your own field first and then apply that to the forensic field. We have our own experiences, qualifications and skills that we use. Be that as it may, our findings are based on simple common knowledge and basic scientific principles. If you can use a ruler you can make the findings that we made. For example: common knowledge and logic will tell you a fingerprint on a round surface, such as a drinking glass, will be shorter than the flat print of the same finger. If the disputed print therefore is equal in length to the flat print, then it tells you that the print was not deposited on a curved surface. It is as simple as that. You do not need to be an expert to make these kinds of findings.
We do research and ask advice from experts in the field, and we get our work reviewed.