News24

'No basis' for denying Humphreys bail

2012-06-13 19:17

Cape Town - Taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was not killed by the community nor fled the country while previously out on bail, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Johann Engelbrecht, for the defence, said Humphreys should, therefore, again be granted bail while awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.

The SCA recently granted Humphreys leave to appeal both his conviction and sentencing.

He is serving an effective 20 years in jail after being convicted of murder following a taxi accident on 25 August 2010 at the Buttskop level-crossing in Cape Town.

While taking children to school, Humphreys overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals, and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi, killing 10 of the children. Four others were seriously injured.

Engelbrecht said the State could not claim there would be a public outcry if bail was granted or that his client would run away.

"The applicant is still alive despite being released [having his bail reinstated]... in December 2011. There was no public outcry," he said.

Judge Rob Stelzner said he believed the flight risk had increased since Humphreys' sentencing.

"There's now a flight risk [after] having spent some time in prison and having a lengthy sentence [ahead of him]."

Engelbrecht said the judge should not over-rely on the seriousness of the crimes nor the assumption that the sentence was set in stone.

He said there was a good chance the SCA would make a different finding on both conviction and sentencing, based on the fact that leave to appeal was granted.

The 10 murder charges could then be changed to culpable homicide and the four attempted murder charges would fall away.

"If the SCA finds no recklessness or gross negligence there's not going to be a custodial sentence," Engelbrecht said.

"[Trial Judge Robert] Henney brushed off the evidence of the accused that he cannot remember anything after he fell in line behind the last vehicle... the accused must receive the benefit of the doubt at this stage."

Susan Galloway, for the State, said there was no possibility that the sentence would be reduced to non-custodial.

"It's not speculation to say this... it's an educated prediction...if the court considers [SCA] judgments from 1941 to 2005 regarding reckless or negligent driving."

It would be highly improbable to prove that Humphreys had not wilfully been reckless in his actions.

She said the parents of the victims had suffered enough and were waiting "with bated breath" for justice in this matter.

Judgment was reserved.

Comments
  • Charnelle - 2012-06-13 19:41

    While taking children to school, Humphreys overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals, and proceeded over the tracks. - It would be highly improbable to prove that Humphreys had not wilfully been reckless in his actions. Unbelievable, why is this man even being considered for bail, they should lock him up immediately!!!

  • yar.wellnofine - 2012-06-13 20:20

    Go to Jail Stay there

  • 1McBird - 2012-06-13 20:56

    What about the witnesses who saw the Humphreys jumping the queue many times prior to the day in question Mr attorney for the defence?(in fact I seem to remember witnesses stating that he did that on the day he committed the crime) I concur with the State.

  • pheko.phoku - 2012-06-13 20:57

    I wish they give him bail so that the community turn against him and kill him. they wanna test water, let it be!

  • anton.bischoff - 2012-06-13 21:17

    Let him hang on the van der Stel Statue for the birds to fed

  • JohnDough - 2012-06-13 21:40

    Quote "Taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was not killed by the community nor fled the country while previously out on bail" Unquote. What part of -convicted murderer- does his lawyer not understand? He is in fact a MASS murderer! The arrogance of his lawyer is only exceeded by the arrogance of his clients respect towards road rules. Let him rot.

  • raymond.abrahamse - 2012-06-13 21:59

    He must stay in jail and rot in hell.The heartache that the families of the dead children had to endure is nothing compared to sitting in jail.He must pay for negligence.

  • Winifred - 2012-06-14 11:04

    REMEMBER AT THAT TIME he was still hoping he would walk away FREE. NOW he knows he will go to jail. That is the problem, I forsee. This guy is guilty, he was negligent, and he killed innocent children. He ruined so many lives. Hope he rots in hell the lying bastard with no concern except his own.

  • bdewee1 - 2012-08-16 15:06

    what are u saying now since nobody is going to jail for 14 school children who died in that bus accident.as far as im conserne the owner must be convicted he was supposed to fix his brakes why was it a big thing with Humphreys .political interferences im not gonna rest!

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