Jogger deaths: Blood test questioned

2011-11-01 14:12

Johannesburg - A blood alcohol test on a motorist who allegedly killed five joggers in Midrand was taken on time, Johannesburg metro police said on Tuesday.

"We are confident that the blood was drawn within the required two hours," Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

He was responding to a report in The Times that police officers at the scene of the crash on October 22 failed to draw blood within the required two hours.

Reports claimed that engineer Sibusiso Langa was intoxicated when he allegedly drove his Mercedes-Benz into the joggers who were training for the Soweto Marathon.

Moroese Mokoatsi, 34, Reneilwe Lesenyeho, 31, Given Mills, 30, Isaac Tlale, 37, and Nomvula Dumako, 35, were killed.

A sixth runner, Khanyiswa Stengile, was the only survivor and has undergone surgery.

The Times reported there was confusion over whose jurisdiction the matter fell under - Midrand is between Johannesburg and Pretoria - and this caused a delay.

Minnaar said Tuesday's report was due to confusion about two different case numbers assigned to the matter.

Passport confiscated

One was from the Hillbrow police station where the blood was drawn, and one from the Olievenhoutbosch police station near where the crash happened.

"We are confident that the case won't be jeopardised," he said.

Langa has appeared on five charges of murder, one of attempted murder, and one of driving under the influence in the Midrand Magistrate's Court and was released on R80 000 bail.

He is a dual United States/South African citizen and had his passport taken from him.

The National Prosecuting Authority recently began charging people with murder instead of culpable homicide if driving under the influence was suspected.

A statement by Justice Project SA, chaired by Howard Dembovsky, said jurisdiction could not be an excuse as the police had jurisdiction "over the entire nation of South Africa" and cases could be transferred between stations if necessary.

According to Arrive Alive, the law states that blood may be drawn by a registered nurse, a district surgeon, or a medical doctor. Witness statements are also admissible in court.

  • nicksimp101 - 2011-11-01 14:22

    Well if he can't be proven to be drunk, doesn't that just bolster the states case of murder?

      Ann - 2011-11-01 14:39

      That's an interesting question nicksimp101. Let's just hope that this scoundrel doesn't get off on such a silly technicality. After all, we are dealing with the loss of five young people in one foul swoop.

      Mpho - 2011-11-01 14:43

      i wish that was the case but his defence will argue motive if he is charged with murder,too many loopholes in our legal system especially for the one that's on the wrong side of the law

      Jack - 2011-11-01 15:31

      Corrupt cops took him to Hillbrow 60 min ride...then took him back to Olievenhoutbosch another 60min. Guaranteed that the hillbrow test has been "lost" and the Olievenhoutbosch test void as it was taken after the 2 hours. Not one honest/moral individual in Government or the Police Force. They all stink!!! Have lost total confidence in any of them. A really shame for the honest hard working cops out there.

  • Pierre - 2011-11-01 14:25

    What a Joke, the whole case is build on That the Driver was intoxicated at the time of the Accident. If the Blood was drawn after the required 2 hours, there case is gone, Murder Will change to culpable homicide, with a suspended sentence. If that is the case then all I can Say is "Good Work Police, we are Proud of you, yet another walks due to total lack of understanding for the law you are trying to enforce"

      Mike - 2011-11-01 14:32

      In law he can only be convicted of culp, they might as well charge him with witchcraft. He won't walk there is more than sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he was intoxicated. It pisses me of how the cops f up their work.

      Mathieu - 2011-11-01 15:15

      Don't jump the gun guys. In the article it says the police are confident that blood was taken on time. We can't start saying another criminal walks away due to police incompetence. It sounds like there is heaps of evidence packed against the accused. I hope they're able to throw the book at him.

      Jack - 2011-11-01 15:37

      @Mathieu, i dont know where you been living but when the cops in south africa say they're confident it means they're actually not.

      Mathieu - 2011-11-01 18:17

      @ Jack: I'm well aware that the police often get it wrong. All I'm saying is let's not prejudge and jump to conclusions. Believe it or not the police and judicial service do get things right at times. We need to wait for the outcome before we can jump on the "incompetence bandwagon". Negativity breeds negativity - let's stop being so negative about everything in South Africa and hope for the right outcome here.

  • Paul - 2011-11-01 14:26

    So what was the point of the article, just another corporate media conspiracy?

  • Thulisa - 2011-11-01 14:57

    There are witnesses mos, they saw what happened doesn't that count? Who cares if the blood was taken 4 hours later, the point is it will show that this dude was drunk! His wife must come back from Carlifonia and hold his dumb husband by his hand during court proceedings. It's good that they took away his passport he would have gone home to sweet Carlifonia.

      Mike - 2011-11-01 15:09

      If they can't rely on the blood test it will not change his position. If the only charge was driving under the influence it could be a problem. He is still in for the high jump.

      John - 2011-11-01 15:17

      think you are right mike,

  • fishycraig - 2011-11-01 15:03

    Whether or not this jerk gets off I just hope all those out there that "think" they can hold their liquor and drive will now "think" twice.

  • Marion - 2011-11-01 15:24

    Maybe I'm just stupid but, 1. Can't you be caught for drunk driving the night after you went drinking heavily? If so, what is the issue with testing within 2 hours? 2. How can he hold dual US / SA citizenship? I thought South Africans were only allowed to have one citizenship. i.e. I'm sure I recall a time when, for example, British citizens had to decide whether to keep their SA passports or their British passports. Charge of murder, to my knowledge, will carry a life sentence that amounts to 25 years. Culpable homicide charge could result in almost as much so he could still be in jail for a long time. The important thing is that he must pay for driving drunk and/or driving negligently that resulted in the deaths of these people.

      Mike - 2011-11-01 15:42

      Marion there are two scenarios. 1 driving under the influence 2 driving whilst your blood content exceeds 0,05 % alcohol. The first is worse because it relates to your ability whilst driving, the second is more of a technical nature because 0.05% is easy to exceed. He can only be found guilty of culpable homicide because he negligently killed those people. I have no idea why the NPA charge people with murder in drunk driving cases because they can only ever prove culp. As it says in the article murder charges are a new thing. This is a classic case of culp and nothing more. However, don't be fooled into thinking culp is not couldn't be worse 5 deaths..he's pretty f!@##$ed

      Marion - 2011-11-01 15:48

      @Mike... thanks for the explanation... There have been many high profile cases in the past where a number of people were killed and the charge was culpable homicide and the book was thrown at them. So, you're right... he's pretty f*&%^$@ and rightly so.

      Gareth - 2011-11-01 15:49

      @ Marion, the test has to be done within two hours of being stopped by the police, not two hours of your last drink. Hope that clarifies. On duel citizenship, it may be that he has taken duel citizenship through marriage and not 'earned' it.

  • Nosiphom - 2011-11-01 15:37

    "The Times reported there was confusion over whose jurisdiction the matter fell under - Midrand is between Johannesburg and Pretoria - and this caused a delay" It is strange that when the Joburg Metro police have to put speed traps there is never a confusion. Midrand is in the Joburg Metro and definitely not the Tshwane Metro!

      caleb.finn1 - 2011-11-01 15:48

      The confusion is simply caused by Magisterial districts, the courts work on different districts to the municipalities which means the Midrand area may fall under a Pretoria court (which i think it did)...

  • Darryn - 2011-11-01 15:39

    As bad as it what he has done, I can't help but feel sorry for him. I really don't think he was out to kill anyone. He will never get past this even if he gets away to a large extent. This will haunt him for the rest of his life. R.I.P to those that were slain and their poor, poor families.

      Marion - 2011-11-01 15:53

      @Darren, there is a part of me that feels sorry for him to, BUT if he was drunk he would have been sober before he had the first drink and while he was sober he would have known that he had to drive. While he was sober he would also have known that driving drunk could result in deaths of accident victims. He could have made a lot of choices while he was still sober. The paramount choice he could have made was to stay totally sober before getting behind the steering wheel. Another was to get someone to drive him home.

  • kazlynn - 2011-11-01 15:48

    OMG, yes - this is just another cover up for someone friend. took him for a DRIVE first to cover up the fact that he was piss drunk!!!

  • eric.makouana - 2011-11-01 15:50

    We are dealing with a very sensitive issue here where young lives have been lost due to somebody who was so irresponsible. And now the state is failing the people due to the lack of the law. I will not be surprise if this guy will just walk away with a fine since the system has too many loopholes.

      Mike - 2011-11-01 16:07

      eric there are no loopholes, the only problem can be if the NPA fail to do their job properly. Our legal system is one of the best in the world and shares the same principles as other legal systems. Failure to do a job properly has f all to do with the legal system

  • Syd - 2011-11-01 16:07

    There is nothing to stop SA citizens from holding dual cizenship. Check the website of home affairs. I have a copy of a document stating it is allowed provided when you wish to leave SA you do so with your SA passport and use it again to return. Check it out.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2011-11-01 16:45

    yep if i was him i will stick with the drunk story than it can not bre murder and another thing murder can only be proved if the state can show that he had the intention to kill before he got in his car or while he was driving it , otherwise its just plain old culpable homicide which is punishable with a fine and community service the endddddd

      Mike - 2011-11-01 17:20

      kudos dude hit the nail on the head

  • Dane - 2011-11-01 17:47

    howard dembovsky,statement does not make sense to me ,i tried to have an assault charge moved from 1 ivestigator to an investigator at another station less than 4kms away ,i was told that the incident did not occur in the jurisdiction where i wanted the case moved to,,,,so that only happens in the movies,,,

      Sizwe - 2011-11-01 19:46

      Administratively within the SAPS they employ jurisdiction to avoid duplication of efforts, but legally, an SAPS member can effect an arrest any where within the country and on South African territories. They even have Judicial powers in certain matters that they may usually not have the need for but legally a sworn member of the SAPS (Police Act appointee) may act as a prosecutor in the absence of a prosecutor. In short he is 100% correct.

  • Winsome - 2011-11-01 19:02

    I know of someone who did get off because of a technicality involving blood taken - and she had been drinking heavily before the incident - I lost a lot of faith in our judicial system because of that case. I certainly hope it doesnt happen in this case too.

  • Sizwe - 2011-11-01 19:30

    Can we all please leave judgement for the courts. There is more to this story than meets the eye. The critical elements that can constitute a crime from prima facie evidence are usually not that sensational and the media and PR guys overlook such elements or facts. For all we know the motorist may truly have been drunk but was swerving to avoid an object or vehicle when the incident occurred, this in itself would quash any case that may exist for the prosecution other than DUI. So can we please leave this to the relevant authorities and stop speculating.

  • Sizwe - 2011-11-01 19:36

    As an aside. I find the DOJ to be ridiculous in their approach to crime fighting and prosecution. They will plead no contest in a bail application from a known murderer and drug dealer who calls himself the "landlord", but will charge a motorist with murder for a clear case of culpable homicide thus limiting his chances of getting bail? Then they go again and complain that prisons are full and they release the convicted killers early and leave white collar and minor crimes suspect in jail as bail was initially denied! This is poor thinking. I can never condone the killing of innocents but a poor decision by an individual cannot be judged more harshly than the conduct of a habitual criminal.

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