NPA postponing all Dräger cases
Johannesburg - All court cases where evidence was obtained using the Dräger breathalyser device have been provisionally withdrawn, the national prosecuting authority said on Sunday.
"The NPA is going to have all cases where the evidence was obtained using a Dräger provisionally withdrawn or postponed, pending the Western Cape High Court ruling," spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.
Clifford Joseph Hendricks is currently challenging in the court the validity and accuracy of the Dräger apparatus used during his arrest last year. His alcohol vapour count was 0.95mg. The maximum allowed is 0.24.
"The ruling will set a precedent... we are confident that the NPA has a strong case in favour of the Dräger."
The device measures the volume of alcohol vapour in a drinker's exhaled breath.
A Durban man was cleared of drunken driving last week after his lawyer challenged the law regarding the use of the breathalyser device, the Sunday Times reported.
The Durban Magistrate's Court found hotel manager Aveer Inderjith, 22, not guilty after the State failed to "produce any evidence regarding the instruments used", according to court documents containing the ruling.
His lawyer Anand Nepaul was quoted as saying: "This was the first time I dealt with the legality of using that instrument to adduce evidence in court.
"The [transport] minister must sort the act out and get reliable equipment. You can't charge people where there is no law allowing the use of the equipment. First it has to be legal, secondly, reliable."
Durban police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker told the newspaper the city stopped using the Dräger system in April, and was now using blood tests.