Trial of Western Cape official delayed

2012-11-08 15:46

Cape Town - The trial of a senior Western Cape government official did not go ahead as scheduled in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning.

David McNamara, 48, dressed in a smart suit, appeared before magistrate Nasha Banwari, to be tried for alleged drug possession.

However, the provincial community development director's lawyer William Booth asked for the trial date to be provisionally moved to 23 November.

He said he made written representations to provincial public prosecutions director Rodney de Kock and had received a response only early on Thursday morning, in the form of a 20- to 25-page document.

"This is the first time the received response has been more than a paragraph or two long. I need to take instructions whether to make further representations to the national director of public prosecutions," he said.

The delay was intended to sort out a DNA debacle.

McNamara was arrested on 28 June last year in the Cape Town CBD, allegedly in possession of a broken bottle-neck, used as a pipe to inhale the fumes of burning tik (crystal methamphetamine), and seven plastic bags containing tik residue.

Leon Snyman, for the prosecution, told the court a recent request was made to the forensics laboratory to test the "tik lolly and other substances" for DNA.

"A DNA profile was obtained. It must be compared to the DNA of the accused," Snyman said.

He said the defence had to decide whether it was willing to hand over a control sample of DNA or demand that a warrant be issued for the sample. Booth described the DNA request as "problematic".

"The item which the DNA analysis was [based] on has been analysed previously by the forensic lab on 27 July last year.

It is very late in the day... the item could very well be contaminated," the lawyer said.

The defence said it would need time to decide on its next move.

The postponement was granted and McNamara's bail was extended.

McNamara, underwent a knee reconstruction operation earlier in the year, hobbled out of the court. He is on special leave pending internal proceedings.

The department's special programmes unit, which is involved in combating drug abuse, is part of his portfolio.