Cape student acquitted after 2010 crash

2011-06-27 18:40

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Cape Town - A Western Cape student was found not guilty on Monday on a charge of culpable homicide after the death of a World Cup visitor in a road accident last year.

Kyle MacDonald, 22, was visibly relieved when the Strand Regional Court ruled the accident was not due to any negligence on his part.

American medical student Nicole Murphy, 24, died in the accident in Gordon's Bay, oustside Cape Town. She was visiting Cape Town with her parents last year for the Soccer World Cup.

MacDonald was found guilty on three less serious charges framed under the Road Traffic Act - failure to assist an injured person, failure to assess the extent of injuries and unlawfully removing his car from the accident scene.

With him in the dock was his girlfriend, Jeanine van der Merwe, who was found guilty of defeating the ends of justice, for falsely informing the police that she had been the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The purpose of her lie was to protect MacDonald.

Murphy had been on her way home after a night out with her brother and sister, Brian, 19, and Kelly, 20.

As they walked along a gravel road in the early hours of June 16 last year, Nicole stumbled into the path of MacDonald's car and was knocked over.

The collision left her brother Brian in a coma, and brain-damaged when he finally recovered.

Van der Merwe's defence attorney, Steven Dreyer, contended that her lie to the police was "on the spur of the moment, and made without criminal intent.

Dreyer contended that the case did not call for a jail sentence for either.

Dreyer said Van der Merwe was "young and inexperienced, and had learned her lesson".

She was unlikely to repeat the offence, he said.

The prosecution was led by senior State advocate Nollie Niehaus, a deputy director in the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions.

Niehaus was assisted by prosecutor Thea Swart, who agreed that the case did not call for a prison sentence.

The matter continues on Tuesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cape town  |  accidents
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