Barron’s acquittal confirmed

2010-08-13 00:00

FORMER Comrades Marathon CEO Linda Barron expressed the hope yesterday that she and everyone connected with the death of local musician Chas Smit (23) in 2005 will “move on” and put the tragedy behind them.

Barron said this yesterday after high court judges Achmat Jappie and Fikile Mokgohloa dismissed a bid by the state to overturn her 2006 acquittal on a culpable homicide charge on appeal earlier this month.

The state has been ordered to pay the costs of the failed appeal.

Judges Jappie and Mokgohloa found in a reserved judgment that magistrate Dieter Schultz’s verdict in favour of Barron was “based entirely on a finding of fact”, and the high court therefore did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter on appeal.

Jappie said the state urged the court to interfere with the magistrate’s “conclusion of law that Barron was not negligent” when she caused Smit’s death.

However, in order to do so it would first be necessary for the court to interfere with the trial court’s findings of fact and this is not permissible in law.

“In this case the magistrate acquitted Barron because the ... evidence falls short of proving that at the critical stage the accused could still have avoided the collision by hooting or taking any other action.

“This conclusion is based on the finding of fact that Smit was not in the path of travel of the motor vehicle driven by Barron; that Barron was in her correct lane of travel and that the front of the motor vehicle had passed Smit before the collision occurred,” the judge said.

He said the magistrate’s legal conclusion therefore that Barron was not negligent and therefore not guilty of culpable homicide was “based squarely on the particular facts of this particular case”.

Barron said yesterday she is pleased that the case is over and hopes the time has come when everyone can move on.

“It has been a long and hard journey, but now its over and I think we should honour Chas’s memory … but not like this,” she added.

Barron said tht what had happened was a tragic accident and not only Smit’s parents, in particular his mother Caro, had been affected.

Barron said she moved to Durban to start afresh.

“But I live with this, with what happened, every day. It’s always in my memory,” she said.

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