Coligny teen died of aspiration – defence medical expert testifies

A defence medical expert has disputed a State pathologist's findings that Coligny teen Matlhomola Moshoeu's injuries were consistent with a fall or jump from a vehicle.

Instead, Sumaya Rajan, who specialises in trauma, told the North West High Court in Mahikeng that Moshoeu had died of aspiration – "when blood or fluid enters the lung and it will compromise the ventilation of the patient".

The State's specialist forensic pathologist Dr Ruweida Moorad concluded that Moshoeu had died of "blunt force neck trauma".

But Rajan disagreed on Tuesday.

Rajan was testifying in the trial of Pieter Doorewaard 27, and Philip Schutte, 34, who are accused of 15-year-old Moshoeu's murder.

The accused claimed that they caught the teenager stealing a sunflower on April 20, 2017 and were on their way with him to the local police station when he jumped off their bakkie along the way.

However, key state witness Bonakele Pakisi, previously told the court that he had witnessed Moshoeu being thrown from a moving vehicle.

In court on Tuesday, Rajan testified that she had 22 years of medical experience in government and started her own Platinum Emergency Care ambulances in Zeerust in 2014.

The court heard that she has dealt with 600 to 700 motor car accidents and 7 to 8 incidents in which people fell from or jumped out of moving vehicles.

Advocate Hennie du Plessis, who represented Doorewaard, asked Rajan her view on the cause of Moshoeu's death.

The witness, who had read the medical report on Moshoeu, responded that he had died of aspiration.

She claimed that paramedics who attended the scene where the teenager had died, did not perform basic medical intervention.

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During cross-examination, prosecutor Moeketsi Moeketsi asked if she disputed the findings by the State's specialist forensic pathologist.

"Yes, I would say he aspirated," she answered.

Moeketsi then asked if she was a forensic pathologist, to which she replied: "No." Rajan said she could only declare a patient dead on a scene and could determine causes of death or conduct post mortems.

"Are you saying that she is correct about the cause of death," Moeketsi asked.

"That's her findings, but I disagree," Rajan responded.

 Du Plessis closed Doorewaard's case and the trial continues.