'Blue light' victim will need life-long care

2014-11-20 12:29
Thomas Ferreira (File, Beeld)

Thomas Ferreira (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court was told of the severe mental changes that Thomas Ferreira would have to live with after being knocked over by a "blue light" driver, during the driver's sentencing proceedings on Thursday.

"I believe he will not be able to function independently or live on his own. He'll need life-long supervision and care," psychiatrist Marthina Boegner told the court.

Joseph Motsamai Semitjie, the former driver of then Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, was convicted of reckless and negligent driving on 3 December.

Boegner said due to his severe head injury, Ferreira had changes in his personality, experienced severe mood swings and aggressive outbursts, had difficulty concentrating, and lacked social decorum.

Life-long psychiatric care

He was taking several medications and would probably be on medication for the rest of his life, she said.

"He will probably need to see a psychiatrist for the rest of his life to assist his family in stabilising his moods.

"People with head injuries are more inclined to have psychiatric issues," she said.

Boegner said Ferreira's injuries had had a huge effect on his family, who had to care for him permanently. It affected his relationship with his sister, who often bore the brunt of his aggressive outbursts.

"I don't think that time will help. I think his function is now at its maximum. It's been a few years since the injury."

Months spent in rehab

Semitjie sat in the dock during Boegner's testimony wearing a navy tracksuit with a lime green trim.

He was driving Mmemezi to a meeting when he crashed into Ferreira, who was on a motorbike, in November 2011.

Ferreira, who was 18-years-old at the time, suffered head injuries and was comatose for weeks. He spent months in rehabilitation.

During the trial, the court heard that Semitjie was driving on the left side of the yellow line, had not switched on his siren, and went through a red traffic light.

Read more on:    thomas ferreira  |  humphrey mmemezi  |  johannesburg  |  blue light incidents

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