Motata advocate questions forensics

Judge Nkola Motata’s drunk-driving trial in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday centred on scientific formulae and mathematical calculations used to validate the quantity of alcohol in his blood stream.

So intense was the debate that defence advocate Danie Dorfling at one stage took out his calculator in an attempt to prove there were irregularities in procedures to examine Motata’s blood sample.

The Pretoria High Court judge crashed his Jaguar into the perimeter wall of a Hurlingham property on January 6 2007, allegedly while drunk.

His blood was taken the same day. When the sample was analysed by chief forensic analyst Logan Govender in March of that year, it showed a 0,2g/100ml concentration of alcohol.

The legal limit is 0,05g/100ml. This was what Dorfling spent Tuesday questioning, while cross-examining Govender.

Dorfling said the calculations and the method used to test the alcohol level in Motata’s blood might have been wrong. “You used the wrong [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research] calculation ... 50.157 instead of 50.008.

“The volume you recorded is wrong because you used the wrong volume of water,” Dorfling told Govender.

Govender, who in most instances seemed to agree with Dorfling’s calculations, nonetheless said all procedures he undertook while testing Motata’s blood were in line with the CSIR standards. The case, which was delayed on Tuesday morning because of a faulty recording device, will continue on Wednesday morning.—Sapa

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