In this post, we will highlight some more reasons why the court should never have accepted Roger Dixon’s Section 212 affidavit.
In 1998 the Legislature amended Section 212 of the Act to outlaw statements containing opinions. Dixon’s final conclusion, which is clearly expressed as his opinion, therefore does not comply with the provisions of the Act.
In my opinion, the black Folien described in paragraph 188.8.131.52 was not “lifted from a DVD” but instead lifted from one of four glasses described in Paragraph 6.4. The features observed on the Folien match test lifts made from glasses and not those made from DVD covers.
In Nkhumeleni 1986 (3) SA 102 (VSC) and Lange 1969 (3) SA 40 (N) the High Court, with reference to the pre-amended section 212(4), clearly indicated that opinion evidence cannot be adduced via a Section 212(4) statement.
The dusting and lifting of prints from the drinking glasses were not performed by Roger Dixon himself but by a Captain Van Der Westhuizen – the Act doesn’t permit such hearsay evidence.
In Paulsen 1995 (1) SACR 518 (C) the deponent failed to indicate that he analysed the blood sample himself. The court ruled that the Section does not allow the deponent to state what factual finding was made by another person – to do so would amount to double hearsay and that this is not allowed by the Section. The Court stressed that in order to be admissible, Section 212(4) statements (affidavits) should strictly comply with the requirements of the Section. The conviction was set aside on Appeal.
Roger Dixon lied when he inferred that the distance between the lines on Folien #1 is the same as the height of the glass that he claimed Folien #1 was lifted from.
Below is an image of Glass # 1. Thus according to Dixon Folien #1 was lifted from this glass or one of the other three (#’s 6, 7 and 8), which are all identical. Therefore the height of this glass, according to Dixon, should be the same as the distance between the lines on Folien 1. The height of Glass #1 is 83 mm and the height between the lines on Folien #1 is about 80 mm – as was also confirmed by Pat Wertheim. A glass of 83 mm high simply cannot leave lines/curves that are 80 mm apart from each other. It is physically impossible.
Thus Dixon had no scientific basis to make the statement:
6.4 The distance between the two parallel curved lines which are visible on Folien 1, as described in paragraph 184.108.40.206, was measured and compared to the heights of the eleven (11) drinking glasses collected from 21 Shiraz flats. Four matching glasses of the eleven were found to have the same height as the distance between the lines ….
Roger Dixon lied when he stated that Constable Swartz demonstrated to him how he lifted Folien #1 from the DVD cover.
In Paragraph 6.1 of his affidavit Roger Dixon stated:
6.1 Lifts were made of DVD cover #1 as described in paragraph 3.1.1 on the top half of the front of the cover as demonstrated to me by Constable Swartz.
According to Constable Swartz, he has never personally met or communicated with Roger Dixon and he has never demonstrated to Roger Dixon how he lifted Folien #1. Dixon also did not state in his affidavit where and when such a meeting would have taken place.
Roger Dixon did not describe in sufficient detail how the drinking glasses were handled during his experiments.
6.4 ….With glass 8, while holding it in the right hand, a drinking action was performed in order to replicate the lipmark on Folien 1. 7.3 The positions of the fingers and the right thumb, as seen on folien 1, is consistent with the lift having been taken from one of the four drinking glasses described in paragraph 6.4. In addition, the lip mark drinking from glass 8 is in the same position as that observed on Folien 1, above the left fingers.
In Par 6.4 Dixon performed a drinking action holding the glass in his right hand. Then in Par 7.3 he talks about the left fingerprints and right thumbprints on Folien #1 that are consistent with the fingerprints he took from Glass #8 (one of the four drinking glasses). But where did the left fingerprint on Glass #8 come from if he only performed a drinking action with the right hand?
If at some point he handled the glass with his left hand – why did he not describe the action he used? Was it because he used an unusual and unnatural drinking action in order to ‘force’ a result – just like Pat Wertheim did when he compiled his report in the presence of Fred’s father?
If Dixon did use Wertheim’s undeclared and therefore ‘secret’ method to get the thumb print above the left fingers, how did he know about it? What type of communication was there between Wertheim and Dixon prior to Dixon’s study? If Dixon only had access to Wertheim’s report and he followed the drinking action described therein precisely, he would not have been able to place his lip print above the left fingers.
Roger Dixon’s made statements about the dry water drop marks, that have no basis in science, and that are contradictory to what one would reasonably expect of a person with a Masters Degree in Geology.
Roger Dixon, since deceased, held a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Cape Town. One would therefore imagine that he should have had a reasonable understanding of fluid properties and dynamics, or at least he should have been able to do some basic research into the topic. That is why it is so hard to understand how Dixon, in good conscience, could have made the following statement:
7.4 The water droplets observed on Folien #1 are consistent with water droplets having dried on a vertical surface. They are oval in shape with their longitudinal axis parallel to the bottom of a glass.
This statement has absolutely no scientific merit. When a water drop hits a horizontal surface at an angle, it forms an oval drop – the sharper the angle the longer and thinner the drop. And it is quite possible for the longitudinal axes of such oval drops to end up parallel to the edge of a flat object – such as for example a DVD cover. Furthermore, there is no rule in fluid dynamics that drops on a vertical surface will always be oval, with the long axis parallel to the horizontal.