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Jonathan Ball

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Antony Altbeker at the Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre, Tweet by Tweet

Fruit of a Poisoned TreeAntony Altbeker’s Fruit of a Poisoned Tree unwraps one of the most sensational and controversial murder trials in South African legal history, the Inge Lotz trial. It’s his eye-witness account of the epic courtroom battle. It’s all the evidence. It’s the testimony. It’s a society whose justice system is stretched to breaking point.

Altbeker discussed his book at the Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre in Johannesburg yesterday evening, and his fellow Jonathan Ball author Fiona Snyckers was on hand to tweet what he said. Here are the highlights:


#Altbeker‘s ‘Fruit Of A Poisoned Tree’ deals with trial of Fred van der Vyver for murder of his girlfriend, Stellenbosch student Inge Lotzless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®


The evidence against van der Vyfer seemed overwhelming until the defence legal team systematically picked the State’s case apart. #altbekerless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®


One of the things police are most interested in finding at a crime scene are fingerprints. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Fingerprints technology only emerged at end of 19th century. Hard to imagine how policing functioned without it. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


A man named William Herschel who was working in India pioneered the idea of fingerprinting. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


How do we know that fingerprints are unique? Chances of there being 2 identical prints are 1 in 64 billion. That is unique enough. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Police only ever find partial fingerprints. SA courts accept 7 points of similarity as a match. Smallest number of any country. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


All of this is irrelevant to my case (laughter). There was no dispute that print belonged to Fred van der Vyver. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Van der Vyver had an alibi. Works at Old Mutual in a high-security building. He had been at work and then went home. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Police said alibi didn’t matter because they had his print on a DVD cover Inge Lotz had rented at 3pm, shortly before death.less than a minute ago via web


Defence claimed print was lifted off a juice glass that Vyver had used that morning. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Q from Frank Snyckers in audience: did police genuinely believe they had right guy or were they cynically fabricating evidence? #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Answer: Police started out over-zealously convinced van der Vyver guilty. Ended up covering their own butts as it all went south #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Q from Frank Snyckers: Why was defence counsel so determined to keep van der Vyver from testifying? What was he afraid of? #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Answer: So much bad press about van der Vyver, including false report he murdered former g-friend, it would’ve been prejudicial. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Question from audience: Who do you think did it? #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Answer: I have to be discreet because civil trial in which van der Vyver is suing police for malicious prosecution is pending… #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Answer:… but there were a few other suspects, including van der Vyver’s roommate, a family member, & members of local tik gang #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Q from audience: Why did the Afrikaans establishment (media & church) turn against van der Vyver to such an extent? #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Answer: Because van der Vyvwver belonged to rather eccentric church that was seen as a cult, & as falling outside NG Kerk norms. #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Finally – Q from audience: Will you be following the civil trial? #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


Answer: I wish I could, but unfortunately I’ve got a job now and have given up my life of crime. (laughter) Got a bond to pay! #altbekerless than a minute ago via web


And that’s the end of the #altbeker tweets. He is an extremely impressive and cogent speaker.less than a minute ago via web

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    October 8th, 2010 @11:47 #
     
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    I never thought a tweeted report would make good reading, but you surprised me, dear Fifi, pleasantly so. Ta.

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