Confusion has erupted in the murder inquest of fourth year University of Zambia education student Verspers Shimuzhila who died on October 5 last year due to suffocation during a protest at UNZA.
This is a result of two state witnesses contradicting each other on how many blood samples were collected from Verspers.
A state Public Medical Analyst at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he received three body samples, while a police officer has said four samples were collected as confirmed | the pathologists who directed him to take them to the Public analyst.
In his testimony, Public analyst, a Mr Kowa, told the court that he collected three samples and made three findings.
Kowa said according to his findings taken out from the body samples of Verspers, he did not find any toxic substances, alcohol or sperms on the vaginal swap.
But when asked whether the police did a good job in securing the samples collected, he said he did not match or conduct a DNA test to match the body of Verspers to the samples.
Kowa revealed that he was unable to confirm whether the samples had been swapped or tampered with because the tubes which contained them had labels.
The witness said this after Verspers’ family lawyer, Laston Mwanabo, asked him to confirm whether he did a DNA test on samples to match Verspers body, since the tubes which contained the samples were not sealed.
But another witness, Philip Mulonda, a police officer, told the court that four body samples which contained two blood samples, the stomach contents and a vaginal swab were collected from Verspers’ body but he was surprised to hear that the public analyst only received three.
Mulonda has told the court that he collected four body samples from the pathologist and his supervisor, a Mr Mwenya, was the one who submitted them to Kowa.
He said there were instructions to take the samples to the public analyst on Monday after a postmortem conducted on Sunday .
Mulonda has, however, disclosed that at the time the samples were taken to the public analyst, he had found the office closed.
“…so I took the samples back in their lab at the University Teaching Hospital,” he said, and that the samples only reached Kowa’s office on Tuesday.
And when asked how secure the samples were, he said they had no seals but “were just like test tubes” and there were several others except he had labelled the ones for Verspers.
When asked why he did not get samples from the lungs when Verspers is said to have died of suffocation from tear gas, the witness could not adequately explain why he did not do that.