Drunk driving: Yengeni hopes for plea agreement

2015-04-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni is hoping to enter a plea agreement with the state after hearing that drunk driving charges against him would not be dropped.

The state announced in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning that it would go ahead with prosecuting Yengeni.

Yengeni, who took off his baseball cap when entering the courtroom, did not have a visible reaction to the news while standing in the dock.

He had made representations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) last year in the hope that the charges would be dropped. ­Yengeni, who is out on R500 bail, has not yet pleaded.

Yengeni allegedly drove with a blood-alcohol level of 0,25% — five times the legal limit of 0,05%.

He was arrested in August 2013 after allegedly driving his Maserati erratically in central Cape Town.

His lawyer, Sylvester Vogel, announced their next plan of action in court yesterday.

“The defence wishes to pursue plea negotiations with the DPP [director of public prosecutions],” he told ­magistrate Nasha Banwari.

He said they would submit a ­proposal within 10 days.

Banwari postponed the matter until May 25 for plea agreement negotiations in terms of Section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act.

This section dictates that an accused can enter into a plea agreement with a prosecutor who has been authorised to do so by the NDPP.

In such an agreement, the state ­accepts the guilty plea of an accused and considers the nature and ­circumstances of the offence, the ­accused’s personal circumstances, ­previous convictions and the interests of the community.

Once the agreement comes before the court, a magistrate can either ­accept and impose the plea and sentencing recommendation, or record a plea of not guilty and start the trial.

In a separate matter in 2007, Yengeni was found not guilty of drunk driving after he was arrested in Goodwood, Cape Town.

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