Motata's drunken-driving trial delayed

The drunken-driving trial of Pretoria High Court Judge Nkola Motata was on Tuesday delayed by a faulty recording device.

The trial, which last sat on November 11 last year, was due to resume at 9am on Tuesday in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

Instead stenographers could be seen fiddling with their machine, prompting the magistrate to return to his chambers. A stenographer, who declined to be named, said the machine was last used early in December.

“It was off the whole of December ... it will take time before it works properly, it has to warm up,” he said.

When the courts closed in November last year, defence advocate Danie Dorfling was cross-examining a forensic analyst involved in blood-alcohol testing.

Chief forensic analyst Logan Govender pointed out that a blood sample sent to the forensic chemistry lab in Johannesburg was recorded in a register with a case number from December 2006, in Hillbrow.
Motata’s blood was taken on January 6 2007, after he crashed his Jaguar into the perimeter wall of a Hurlingham property, allegedly while drunk.

Dorfling also pointed out that changes had been made to the register entry.

The word “Parkview” had been added in brackets to the place in the register where it had been noted that the sample came from Hillbrow. The entry in brackets was also in different handwriting. The case number had also been changed in a different colour ink.

Dorfling also queried a March 2007 report signed by Govender that stated he received the blood sample from Parkview police.

Govender said he knew the sample had come from Hillbrow. He added that the discrepancy arose after his superior gave him a police form that had been sent to the laboratory from the Parkview police station.

This form had created confusion about where the sample had come from.

Earlier Govender testified that the sample he analysed recorded a blood alcohol level of 0,2 grams per 100 millilitres. The legal limit is 0,05 grams.

It was not clear when the trial would resume.—Sapa

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