Zulu wants a Freedom Day pass

2012-05-10 00:00

SIFISO Zulu qualifies for a remission of sentence in terms of the recent amnesty announced by President Jacob Zuma, his lawyers will argue in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

In addition they will ask the court to change the “minimal” remaining period of Zulu’s effective three-year prison sentence to one of community service, so that he does not have to serve any time in jail.

They maintain that although the 2008 collision involving Zulu’s BMW X5 in Durban was “tragic and caused fatalities, it cannot be said to have been deliberate”, and argue that Zulu “should not be punished simply because he took the position that he was not the driver”.

These submissions are raised in Zulu’s application for leave to appeal,which was filed in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, against the confirmation of his convictions and jail sentence last Friday by Judge Pete Koen and Acting Judge Themba Mjoli.

They have also applied for Zulu’s bail to be extended pending the final outcome of his application for leave to appeal.

No date has been set for the application to be heard, but indications are that it might be tomorrow.

Notice for Zulu to surrender himself to prison was served on his attorneys at 10.30 am yesterday, said NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson.

This means he has until tomorrow morning to surrender to the clerk of the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

In his written submissions filed yesterday, Zulu’s attorney, Lonwabo Dandala, submitted that when they considered the question of sentence Judges Koen and Mjoli failed to have regard to pre-sentencing reports that had recommended that Zulu be sentenced to correctional supervision.

He said the sentence (of five years’ imprisonment, of which two years was suspended, and fines totalling R7 500) imposed on Zulu reflected an overemphasis on public opinion and the interests of society at the expense of other important purposes of sentencing.

Dandala added that because Zulu was sentenced on September 28, 2010, his sentence fell within the remission announced by the president on Freedom Day.

He also attacked Zulu’s convictions and says the appeal court was wrong to find that the state had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zulu was the driver of his vehicle on the fateful night, March 29,2008.

In particular, he argued, the court was wrong to find that he was the driver in terms of a presumption in law that stipulates that the owner of a vehicle is deemed to be the driver unless it is proven otherwise.

Dandala submitted that there was evidence from state witnesses that pointed to Bongumusa Gumede as being the driver on the night in question.

The Department of Correctional Services stated that in terms of the president’s amnesty, all offenders who were sentenced on or before April 27 this year would be granted six months’ remission irrespective of the crime they committed.

An additional 12 months’ remission of sentence would be granted to offenders who were not sentenced for “aggressive crimes” such as murder, robbery or kidnapping; firearm-related crimes, sexual crimes or drug-related crimes.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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