Yengeni defence raises doubts over blood sample

2016-09-16 16:23
Tony Yengeni (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Tony Yengeni (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Tony Yengeni's defence team attempted to cast doubt on the blood sample collected in the former African National Congress chief whip's ongoing drunk driving case.

Advocate Dirk Uijs, for Yengeni, questioned two private forensic consultants in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Friday about tests they conducted on Yengeni's blood sample.

Dr Cesarina Edmonds-Smith told the court that there were many anomalies with the data that indicated that Yengeni was five times over the legal limit in Green Point in August 2013.

She said that, for one, the sodium fluoride readings found after testing the blood were irregular.

All three tests had positive readings, which was impossible, as fluoride is negatively charged, she said.

The readings could have either been down to human or machine error.

Sodium fluoride is used to preserve the blood. It does not have an effect on the blood alcohol readings.

Blood clotting, butanol traces

Another anomaly included four cases of blood clotting during 53 separate tests.

Edmonds-Smith said that all South African blood samples should contain one of two substances that prevent any clotting from occurring when tested.

Lastly, the sample contained traces of tertiary butanol. This was problematic because tertiary butanol is the only alcohol which is solid at room temperature, she said.

Edmonds-Smith said she would like to know how the butanol got into the sample.

Blood samples used in legal cases are handled by the Department of Health.

Edmonds-Smith's business partner, Claire Lewis, also testified on Friday.

Lewis told the court that there are two published journal articles showing that ethanol can be created in refrigerated blood samples under certain conditions.

State prosecutor Leon Snyman disputed the two publications, saying one had only focused on post-mortem blood, while the other focused on blood refrigerated over a few days, as opposed to a few weeks, as was necessary in Yengeni's case.

Forensic testimony and cross-examination will continue next week.

Read more on:    tony yengeni  |  cape town  |  crime

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