Con accused gets 3 years suspended

2012-10-10 00:00

CLUTCHING what appeared to be a small blue Bible in her hands and wearing a necklace with a gold cross, alleged Pietermaritzburg con artist, Charlene Singh (28) pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of reckless driving.

Singh was given a suspended three year jail sentence for the offence which took place in Church Street in January this year.

Initially she was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and malicious damage to property.

The state had earlier claimed that she had tried to kill Organised Crime Unit captain Marina Jurgens by attempting to knock her down with her vehicle and that she damaged a state-owned vehicle.

But the charges were subsequently withdrawn and replaced with a charge of reckless driving.

In her statement to the court, Singh admitted driving her GTI Golf car recklessly by “reversing at an inappropriate time without taking notice in the vicinity”.

“I was reversing from the parking in Church Street when I bumped into a Toyota Corolla car that was parked nearby,” she said.

The Corolla was damaged on the left side door and bumper.

“Police then arrived and I was arrested,” said Singh.

Anthoo told Singh that she had hopefully learned a lesson from what happened and said the suspended sentence should “hang like a weight” on her shoulders.

“The choice will ultimately be yours, whether you become a law-abiding citizen in future or not,” said regional magistrate, Jennifer Anthoo.

She took into account Singh’s personal circumstances, which were detailed by her legal aid attorney, including the fact that she has two young children who live with a family member.

Ricky van Wyk told the court that the state accepted Singh’s plea of guilty to a charge of reckless driving, but urged the court to take into account that Jurgens’s safety had been endangered, and that she’d caused damage amounting to about R6 000 to another vehicle.

The court was also told that prior to her arrest Singh had been earning R10 000 per month as a self employed sales representative, and helped support her parents and

children.

Although the court heard that Singh has a previous conviction for housebreaking in 2001, the prosecutor agreed that it was not relevant as it happened over 10 years ago when she was still a minor.

As she left the accused’s dock, Singh murmured softly; “Thank you God”.

She is due to appear in the magistrate’s court again on October 24 in connection with charges that she conned her way into the homes of elderly Pietermaritzburg residents and stole their property. She is in custody.

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