Murder suspect Mortimer Saunders Picture: Siphephile Sibanyoni/ African News Agency (ANA).
Cape Town - Despite further testing on tissue of 3-year-old Courtney Pieters, expert State witness and pathologist said he still could not confirm if she was raped ante or post-mortem.

Yesterday, Johan Dempers returned to the Western Cape High Court for cross-examination by the defence counsel for Mortimer Saunders, who is accused of the toddler’s rape and murder.

Before court proceeded, State prosecutor Esmeraldebented “further scientific developments”, she said. Cecil argued that the “further scientific evidence related to the decomposed neck and genitalia” of Courtney.

Judge Pearl Mantame granted the application to submit the new evidence taken from the toddler’s body despite defence advocate Mornay Calitz’s objection.

Last week Calitz said the further testing, which relates to decomposition post- and ante-mortem, “was not evidence due to oversight”, but added it was done subsequent to Dempers’s evidence-in-chief.

Dempers told the court that the further evidence was “expensive tests” which used markers to identify red blood cells in “blebs” and cost between R8000 to R10000 per test.

He added that the tests confirmed what he thought to be red blood cells which were in a state of decomposition, to be exactly that. Although the tests were done subsequent to his evidence in chief, it did not change his testimony.

Instead, he said, it supported the evidence in chief.

Although he could conclude that the samples did indeed show the presence of red blood cells, Dempers said he still could not conclusively say whether bleeding happened before or after Courtney’s death.

Judge Mantame granted Calitz’s request for the matter to stand down until Monday for him to consult with experts.

In a plea statement, Saunders confessed to the murder of the child by giving her rat poison in liquid form. Saunders denied raping the toddler, but said he performed a sexual act by penetrating her corpse with three fingers.