DNA not enough in cancer patient rape case

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MARINÉ JACOBS

DNA extracted from forensic samples taken from the cancer patient who alleged that she was raped by a male nurse, was not enough to get a DNA profile to compare to a specific suspect. This was heard in the Bloemfontein High Court today where Kadisang Michael Moema (33) is facing a charge of rape after Magda Lombard (51) alleged that she was raped while she was a patient in the Universitas Oncology Unit in Bloemfontein. Lombard alleged that a female nurse held her down while the male nurse raped her. The female nurse was not charged. Lombard passed away in a private hospital a few weeks after the alleged incident.

A forensic specialist, Katrina Botha, testified today that while male DNA was found from the forensic samples, the concentration was too low to determine a specific source. She said that she thought the source to be semen, but could not exclude the possibility of it being from another bodily fluid. Botha explained the possibility exists that the semen could’ve come from another source, such as sweat or saliva. Either way it could not be traced to a specific individual.

Concerns were also raised regarding the influence of aspects such as the presence of a catheter and a diaper, as well as the fact that Lombard had three full body washes between the time of the alleged rape and when the samples were taken. Botha held that the results could have been influenced by these aspects. According to Lombard the two suspects wiped her after the rape, which would also have influenced the results of the analysis.

Dr Matthys Strydom, an oncologist who treated Lombard the weekend of the alleged incident, also had his turn in the witness stand. He testified that Lombard told him about the incident the morning after it supposedly happened, but that she never specified rape. “She said things happen at this place during the night,” said Strydom. “When I asked what things she only said ‘they do with you what they want.’ I assumed she referred to something obscene.”

Strydom was intensely questioned on Lombard’s medication and physical health and the possibility of her having hallucinations. He admitted that morphine – that was given to Lombard daily – could induce hallucinations. Strydom also held that it was a possibility that Lombard’s brain metastasis and low levels of potassium and haemoglobin could contribute to disorientation and hallucinations. He said however that Lombard appeared clear-minded and orientated when she told him about the incident.

The case continues.