'My life cannot carry on' - partner of killed Durban cyclist

2017-03-13 14:56
Bicycle lane. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Bicycle lane. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Durban - The life partner of Durban cyclist Richard da Silva, who was knocked over and killed by an alleged drunk driver, came to court on Monday, having steeled herself to testify.

Instead, Sonja Ferreira was left struggling to contain her tears after Durban Regional Court Magistrate Anand Maharaj explained that he was reluctantly adjourning the trial.

Omesh Ramnarain, 32, a plumber from Phoenix, is on trial on charges of drunk driving and culpable homicide for the deaths of Da Silva, 46, and his cycling partner Jared Dwyer, 36.

He allegedly knocked them down on the M4 highway leading out of the city in February 2016. Ramnarain was arrested at the scene.

Ferreira, who had been in a relationship with Da Silva for 25 years, was cycling ahead of him that morning.

"I wish I had seen more, so that I could testify about exactly what happened. These delays are so frustrating. It’s like my life cannot carry on," she told News24 outside the courtroom.

Closure

Dwyer's relatives, including his mother, were in court. Through an attorney, they wrote a letter to prosecutor Herman Mouton, "strongly objecting" to any more delays, as they wanted closure.

Ramnarain's attorney Devin Moodley said the adjournment was necessary so he could obtain a further expert report, because the defence was "of a technical nature".

"Unfortunately, because it is a high profile media case, people have been unwilling to assist us. But we have now found a professor who can assist as soon as he returns from overseas later this month."

Maharaj initially suggested it could be a delaying tactic, but Moodley denied this. To force the trial to continue would be an exercise in futility, because in previous similar circumstances in the past, the High Court had stopped the trial or set it aside, Maharaj said.

"I apologise for this. In terms of the law, there is not much I can do," he said to witnesses, friends and relatives in the public gallery.

Caro Smith, of South Africans Against Drunk Driving, said the case was important in light of recent statements government ministers had made about drunk driving.

"If he [Ramnarain] is found guilty, he should go to jail."

The case was adjourned until April, when a new trial date would be set.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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