Taxi driver ‘refused to accept responsibility’

2012-02-28 13:16

Western Cape taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was in effect jailed for 20 years today after being convicted of killing 10 children in a crash.

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney imposed a 12-year prison sentence for each of the 10 murder charges, to run concurrently.

This came to 12 years in prison for the 10 murders.

For the four attempted murder charges, the judge handed down a six-year prison sentence for each.

Four of the six years on each charge would run concurrently with 12-year sentence for murder. This added in effect another eight years – bringing the total jail term to 20 years.

The driver’s licence of the 56-year-old taxi driver was also cancelled with immediate effect.

“The court should be mindful of the difference between public opinion and public interest. The object of this sentence is not to serve public opinion but to serve the public interest,” Henney said.

“Courts should exercise caution to not be swept away by emotional sentiment and media attention.”

The sentence drew a gasp from friends and family in the gallery, with some bursting into tears.

Humphreys held a grave expression throughout the reading of the sentence, frowning deeply and pursing his lips.

Dressed in a light green shirt, grey pants and bright green tie, he sat in the dock straining to hear Henney’s sentence, which was delivered in English.

Henney said that when deliberating over the sentence, he had taken into account Humphreys’ personal circumstances, his offences and the interest of society.

He said that wilful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road showed a clear lack of respect for the safety of others.

“There was more than enough time for the accused to consider what he is doing ... in deciding the type of sentence to be imposed the court must consider the degree of culpability or blameworthiness.”

“I still do not know what motivated him to do these actions... but he refuses to accept responsibility.”

Humphreys was convicted of murder, following an accident on August 25, 2010 in Cape Town.

While taking children to school, he overtook a row of cars at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi, killing 10 of the children he was taking to school. Four others were seriously injured.

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