'He lied to me' - mother of Durban cyclist killed, after accused changes plea

2017-09-15 14:01
Cyclists Jared Dwyer, 36, (left) and Richard da Silva, 46, were killed in a road accident. (Supplied)

Cyclists Jared Dwyer, 36, (left) and Richard da Silva, 46, were killed in a road accident. (Supplied)

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Durban – "He cried on my shoulder. I told him I forgive him... But he lied to me."

This was the anguished reaction of Rosa Da Silva after she heard that the motorist accused of knocking down and killing her son Richard, 46, and his cycling partner Jared Dwyer, 36, was no longer pleading guilty to the crimes.

The incident occurred on the M4 highway leading out of the city in February last year and sparked a public outcry.

At his last court appearance in the Durban Regional Court earlier this month, Omesh Ramnarain, 33, indicated that he had concluded a plea bargain agreement with the State and would spend time in jail. 

He said he ran his own business and needed time to sort out his affairs and the case was adjourned until Friday morning.

'Slapped in the face'

Expectation among Da Silva and Dwyer's family and friends was high. In terms of the plea bargain process, the victims' families are kept appraised of developments. They came for closure. 

Instead, as one said, they were "slapped in the face".

Ramnarain's attorney Devin Moodley told Magistrate Anand Maharaj that he was withdrawing from the case "because of issues which arose during the finalisation of the plea agreement".

A new legal team, Reg Thomas and Advocate Murray Pitman, took over. They said they needed time to view the evidence and to assess whether to proceed with a plea agreement or go to trial.

Magistrate Maharaj put them on terms - to do so by October - and said either way, the matter would proceed in December. 

"I am not saying you are playing games, but what if this happens again? This trial has already been stalled twice... The families came here with expectations. It is not fair to them," he said.

Outside of court, there was a heated scuffle as Ramnarain walked to the lifts during which he lost his shoe. A court orderly had to intervene.

Forgiveness

"You are a coward…You have no respect. If you are a man, then take what you deserve," a relative shouted at him.

Rosa Da Silva told News24: "I am not a woman with hate….but he lied to me."

She said at the last court appearance, Ramnarain had put his head on her shoulder and sobbed. 

"He said my name.

"I have lost a child. But I accepted that he was just a child and I, as a mother, forgave him. He told me the whole story of what happened that day.

"Last night the family had dinner together and I told them we need to all forgive and let this go.

"I was going to visit him in jail to make sure he was well-treated, but he lied to me...he is just cruel and is playing with the devil."

Jarred Dwyer's mother Lee, was inconsolable.

She said she came from Cape Town for each court appearance.

"I will never ever forgive him now… He doesn't give a damn about anyone else… and the court has no respect for the families."

The matter was adjourned provisionally until October 6. The trial was set down again for December 4.


Read more on:    durban  |  courts  |  accidents

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