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Reviews

 

Cape Times - 11/07/20014

REVIEW: Karina M Szczurek

Sensationalised murder affords us a chance to keep an open mind

Inge Lotz, a Stellenbosch student, was found brutally murdered in her flat in March 2005. Her boyfriend at the time, Fred van der Vyver, was put on trial for the deed. Anybody who has ever held an opinion about what had happened to Lotz the day of her death should read Thomas and Calvin Mollett’s shockingly revealing Bloody Lies: Citizens Reopen the Inge Lotz Murder Case.

With its suggestive cover and brilliant title, the book not only profoundly questions the justice of Fred van der Vyver’s acquittal but the entire judicial system involved in arriving at the verdict.

In times when high-profile court cases are becoming staple media spectacles in which many of us feel the need and right to participate, it might be of utmost importance for all concerned to consider what is at stake. The authors of Bloody Lies present compelling evidence that a serious miscarriage of justice took place in Lotz’s case. However, it is commendable that they do not try to sell their findings as gospel truth. All they ask is that readers think for themselves.

As the title of their book suggests, during their research the Mollett brothers uncovered some mindboggling discrepancies between the manifold interpretations of the evidence collected at the crime scene. One by one, they examined the available pieces of evidence – fingerprints, potential murder weapons, blood marks, autopsy report – and in the process developed methods for analysis which have the potential of revolutionising such procedures in the future.

Throughout they kept an open mind. They emphasise that their investigation sprung from their own fascination with the case, nobody hired them. Their meticulous scientifically grounded experiments and revaluations are carefully presented and illustrated within the book (some of the visual footage is not for the faint-hearted).

In all the vital points the authors reached radically different conclusions from those presented to the court by expert witnesses. Tasked with assisting a just ruling, instead expert witnesses are often called upon to intentionally mislead the court to affect a favourable outcome for one of the parties. Bloody Lies exposes a flawed system where the court more often than not is faced with negligence, indifference, or worse, ruthlessness and malice. During the Lotz trial careers of hard-working and well-meaning people were thus ruined.

It is impossible to cover all the relevant bases of this case in a single book, thus some niggling questions remain unanswered.

But the authors have set up a website to which they refer throughout the book and where interested readers are encouraged to address them.

Bloody Lies shines a penetrating light into the murky procedures of how evidence is collected and examined.

People in their respective fields would be wise to re-examine both processes and to implement regulations which will make them less prone to error and misinterpretation.

Inge Lotz’s senseless death had tremendous impact on the lives of those who knew her and all who were involved with the investigation.

Nobody walked away unscathed.

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