Reckless driving cop can’t pay bail on latest charge

2010-12-31 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG police captain Sakhepi Sokhela appeared in the magistrate’s court here yesterday in connection with an incident where a police vehicle allegedly smashed into two other cars and drove away on Monday evening.

Sokhela, who is attached to the Public Order Policing Unit, was granted bail of R4 000 by magistrate Celumusa Zungu, but The Witness learned that Sokhela was still in custody yesterday evening as he did not have the money to pay bail.

In his evidence in court Sokhela indicated that he could afford to pay a sum of R1 000, but the magistrate has a discretion to set bail in any amount he or she deems fit.

Sokhela faces a total of five charges, including two counts of reckless and negligent driving, failure to stop after an accident, failure to ascertain the extent of damages and injuries and to report an accident within 24 hours as well as a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

He was not asked to plead to any charges.

Sokhela told the magistrate he intends to brief his own attorney to represent him at his trial.

He admitted during questioning that he has a previous conviction for reckless and negligent driving arising from an incident in 1995. He was convicted of that offence in 1997 and was sentenced to pay a fine of R800.

The present charges arise from an incident where a police-owned Nissan patrol van allegedly struck two Jetta motor vehicles on the corner of King Edward and Coronation roads and Coronation and St Patricks Road.

One of the alleged accident victims, Lethiwe Goge (26), who is a university student, told The Witness afterwards that she had just left the Scottsville shopping centre when her car was hit by a police double cab bakkie which drove off.

Sokhela also allegedly collided with a car driven by Belinda Smith of Johannesburg, who had spent Christmas in Pietermaritzburg.

Her children were in the car with her when the accident happened.

No injuries were reported.

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