Hanson: judgment reserved on taxi driver’s sentence

2010-09-08 00:00

TAXI driver Lucky Mbonambi, who knocked down and killed traffic officer Des Hanson in 2008, has appealed to the high court to set aside his effective 12-year prison sentence for culpable homicide and seven other traffic violations.

Judge Graham Lopes and Acting Judge Yvonne Gcaba reserved judgment, but indicated that they hope to hand down their verdict within a week.

The facts accepted by the trial court were that Mbonambi acted negligently when he ran over Hanson, and that his conduct was not deliberate.

Based on that, the judge questioned whether the sentence of eight years’ imprisonment imposed on him for the culpable homicide charge is appropriate.

The judge was also critical of the magistrate for going on a “tirade” against taxi drivers in general during sentencing.

State advocate Ruan Du Preez submitted that what separated the case from other culpable homicides was Mbonambi’s history of brushes with the law, and that Hanson was a traffic officer on duty at the time, in uniform and wearing reflective clothing.

“He was standing in the road in execution of his duty … He was killed while going that extra mile to protect other innocent people on the roads.”

Du Preez said the court should take into account the effect of the case on other law enforcement officers of whom the same is asked.

Arguing for a lower sentence on behalf of Mbonambi, Zina Anastasiou said Mbonambi had shown remorse by pleading guilty at his trial.

She submitted that the cumulative effect of all the sentences imposed on him is excessive and urged the court to order some of the sentences to run concurrently.

It also emerged in argument that the trial magistrate had exceeded her jurisdiction by imposing three years’ imprisonment on Mbonambi for contravening the National Road Traffic Act in respect of which there is a maximum penalty of one year.

At his trial Mbonambi said he was driving along Peter Kerchoff (Chapel) Street when he saw a Mazda twin-cab 4X4 stopped in the right lane. He moved to the left to avoid the vehicle and “all of a sudden” Hanson appeared in front of him. He admitted he drove too fast and could not stop. Hanson was dragged by the taxi after being hit.

Mbonambi was also convicted of failing to stop at two red robots just before he ran over Hanson.

The court heard that the traffic officers were busy with an operation targeting taxi drivers who crossed red robots when the incident happened.

 

 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.