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Nelspruit - A defence lawyer for one of the men accused for murdering an 86-year-old farmer in Mpumalanga has told the Nelspruit circuit of the Pretoria High Court that the crime scene was tampered with when exhibits were collected.
Lawyer Lawrence Manzini was representing Thomas Nyathi, who is facing murder charges along with his co-accused Aaron Nkosi, a Sapa correspondent reported.
The two have pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and the murder of Johannes Hendrik Tolstoi Schoeman, 86, who was killed on the night of December 17 2010.
On Wednesday afternoon, Manzini cross-examined Lt-Col Anton Jacobus Crawford from the Middelburg police.
“According to photographs taken at the crime scene, Crawford compromised the crime scene by not wearing protective clothing,” Manzini told the court.
Crawford testified that the crime scene was not tampered with because during the collection of the exhibits on December 17 2010, he wore protective clothing in line with procedure when there was blood on the scene.
“I was wearing protective clothing when I entered the crime scene, which are gloves, overalls and plastic on my shoes,” he testified.
He told the court he collected exhibits like blood samples from the vehicle found at the crime scene.
“The blood sample was collected by myself after it was possibly pointed to me by another police officer. The blood sample was collected on the couple’s Honda Ballade, which was found on the scene, on the right hand side on the car bumper.
“I collected it using something like an ear bud, which we normally use. I inserted two to three blood drops inside a small bottle,” he testified.
Crawford testified he also collected three partly burnt matchsticks, several pieces of clothing from the deceased and belts which were tied on the deceased's hands and feet.
“I also collected other samples from the Honda Jazz which was at the Carolina Towing Services which were from the car keys, steering wheel, gear lever, inner handles of the left and right front doors, a woollen hat and human hair sample from the car roof.
“I also collected a panga which on the handle had blood samples. I later also received the deceased's blood sample and two nail clippings from a doctor from Ermelo Hospital, who did a post mortem on the body,” said Crawford.
Crawford said he sealed everything in an envelope and locked it inside his office safe.
“The package was later taken by one of our team members to the forensic laboratory in Pretoria,” Crawford testified.
Manzini also disputed that the statement compiled by a forensic expert from Pretoria should be read out by the State prosecutor.
He stated that the expert be called on stand to read the statement as the defence wanted clarity on the case number and how the analysis was conducted.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo instructed that the forensic expert be called to read the statement.