Shredded files on Breytenbach's laptop irrecoverable, witness testifies
AN information technology forensic investigator testified on Monday that hundreds of files were shredded from an official laptop given to suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach on May 2, the day she returned the computer to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Jaco Venter told the disciplinary hearing into allegations of misconduct levelled against Ms Breytenbach that if the files were deleted, they could be recovered. However, Mr Venter said, shredding the files meant they could not be recovered.
Mr Venter's testimony is meant to support some of the counts that Ms Breytenbach is facing, including that of illegally handing a work laptop to a third party and of allowing someone else to get unauthorised access to the laptop.
Mr Venter said on investigating the computer, he found that files were shredded on May 2, hours before the computer was returned.
Mr Venter said shredding made the documents irrecoverable on that computer, but the back up of Ms Breytenbach's hard drive on the NPA server showed which documents had been shredded.
However, Mr Venter agreed with Ms Breytenbach's advocate Wim Trengove SC that there was nothing sinister about deletions that were placed in the computer's recycling bin.
Mr Venter said he did not know that there was an arrangement between the NPA and Ms Breytenbach on April 30 that she would be allowed to delete private and confidential information on the computer before returning it. Adv Trengove said Ms Breytenbach created a folder known as "deletions" and that an attempt was made to shred the file.
Adv Trengove said Mr Venter's was incorrect in saying shredding took place on April 30.
Earlier in the day, the NPA's assistant systems administrator Eudele Swarts told the hearing that he went to Ms Breytenbach's office on April 30 to upgrade her computer so that it backed up to the new server of the NPA. Mr Swarts said he could not make a backup because Ms Breytenbach's IT specialist had opened the laptop's hard drive.
Mr Swarts testified that he was able to restore Ms Breytenbach's desktop on the NPA server and recover all files that had been shredded. Mr Swarts said it was easier to determine what had been deleted from her computer because those files were available on the NPA server.
Adv Trengove said when the computer was returned on May 2, the NPA was told that deletions on the computer had been made. He said the NPA could have gone and checked on the server to determine which files had been deleted.
The NPA claims that between September 2010 and February this year, Ms Breytenbach colluded with legal counsel of Kumba Iron Ore and Sishen mine to exert improper influence over a criminal investigation against Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).
Ms Breytenbach claimed she was being victimised and filed a Labour Court application in which she contended that the acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, had suspended her in an attempt to protect former police intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
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