Pinetown lawyer ‘not like Shaik’

2014-01-31 00:00

THE now-disbarred Pinetown lawyer who pleaded guilty to killing three people in a drug- and alcohol-fuelled car accident, yesterday avoided sentencing on medical grounds.

Koobashan Naicker, who admitted to crashing his Mercedes-Benz and killing Gillian Bell, her eight-year-old son Connor, and dance teacher Carmen Hunter who was on a motorcycle on Durban’s Athlone Bridge in March 2011, had his sentencing postponed yesterday claiming he needed urgent medical attention.

But Jason Bell, the father and husband of two of the deceased, said this was yet another tactic by a remorseless Naicker to delay proceedings further.

Speaking after the case was adjourned in the Durban Regional Court, Naicker’s lawyer Mervin Maistry said: “[Naiker] is not pulling a Schabir Shaik. His medical condition has caught us all by surprise. Yesterday he went into Entebeni Hospital to undergo a series of tests. He has also been seeing a surgeon over issues with his eyes,” said Maistry.

Shaik, a politically connected Durban businessman and former financial adviser to President Jacob Zuma was sentenced in 2005 to 15 years on several counts of fraud. However he avoided much jail time after being granted medical parole on grounds he was close to his deathbed. Shaik is still alive.

“The medical reports could backfire. It could be determined that Mr Naicker is perfectly healthy and fit to do jail time, but before the court takes any decision it is right that they have a full picture to give the ideal sentence,” said Maistry.

He said they “are not delaying” the sentencing as it is a required process after their client pleaded guilty.

“The victims at least have partial closure. He has pleaded guilty and he will be sentenced,” said Maistry.

The date for sentencing was postponed to February 27 and 28.

Bell said they would want the maximum sentence given as Naicker had made “no effort to try to right the wrong” or shown any “remorse”.

“For us to try and find meaning to the horrors we have experienced we would like there to be a harsh sentence so that people are aware there are serious repercussions to drunk driving, as too many people lose their lives each year to something that is completely avoidable,” said Bell.

Naicker pleaded guilty to eight charges, including several unrelated to the accident. Over and above his guilty plea on culpable homicide for the incident near Athlone Bridge, he also faces charges of drunk driving, negligent driving, speeding and failing to stop when an officer was attempting to flag him down.

In November 2012 Naicker was sent to jail for breaking his bail conditions, which stipulated he should not drive, and was told he would remain in custody until the trial began in April 2013.

In a surprise move Naicker was then granted bail in March 2013 and no driving restrictions were imposed.

Naicker previously specialised in Road Accident Fund claims and ran a successful practice called Bashan Naicker and Associates in Durban.

He was disbarred on charges of theft from trust funds.

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