Cape student acquitted after 2010 crash

2011-06-27 18:40

Cape Town - A Western Cape student was found not guilty on Monday on a charge of culpable homicide after the death of a World Cup visitor in a road accident last year.

Kyle MacDonald, 22, was visibly relieved when the Strand Regional Court ruled the accident was not due to any negligence on his part.

American medical student Nicole Murphy, 24, died in the accident in Gordon's Bay, oustside Cape Town. She was visiting Cape Town with her parents last year for the Soccer World Cup.

MacDonald was found guilty on three less serious charges framed under the Road Traffic Act - failure to assist an injured person, failure to assess the extent of injuries and unlawfully removing his car from the accident scene.

With him in the dock was his girlfriend, Jeanine van der Merwe, who was found guilty of defeating the ends of justice, for falsely informing the police that she had been the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The purpose of her lie was to protect MacDonald.

Murphy had been on her way home after a night out with her brother and sister, Brian, 19, and Kelly, 20.

As they walked along a gravel road in the early hours of June 16 last year, Nicole stumbled into the path of MacDonald's car and was knocked over.

The collision left her brother Brian in a coma, and brain-damaged when he finally recovered.

Van der Merwe's defence attorney, Steven Dreyer, contended that her lie to the police was "on the spur of the moment, and made without criminal intent.

Dreyer contended that the case did not call for a jail sentence for either.

Dreyer said Van der Merwe was "young and inexperienced, and had learned her lesson".

She was unlikely to repeat the offence, he said.

The prosecution was led by senior State advocate Nollie Niehaus, a deputy director in the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions.

Niehaus was assisted by prosecutor Thea Swart, who agreed that the case did not call for a prison sentence.

The matter continues on Tuesday.

  • americist___ - 2011-06-27 19:59

    Disgusting. This is why South Africans don't care about the rules of the road : There are no consequences. Why didn't these people stop and assist this family? Omg, so bad. I'm totally disgusted. Someone died and someone else has brain damage and all they get is a slap on the wrist. I have one thing to say to the judge: You have just made our roads even more unsafe. And the wheel will turn on you for this POOR JUDGEMENT on your part.

      guberator - 2011-06-28 09:14

      who's to say the couple driving were terrified and not thinking straight, and who's to say that the tourists weren't drunk? whatever the case, a tragedy..

      LBS - 2011-06-28 15:25

      A Lot depends on how good your lawyer is. Fact remains, we don't know the entire story, were they drunk (stumbled into the path of the car)? Too many unanswered questions. Hope the Judge had all his facts straight.

  • BigMoose - 2011-06-27 20:00

    An accident. Young lives lost.

  • CherylMarie - 2011-06-29 13:46

    One report has now indicated that Nicole Murphy's blood alcohol level was 5 times the legal limit. That is the first time any reference has been made to that fact and the fact that the 3 siblings had spent the evening in a bar. This is the most awful tragedy for all the families concerned. No-one can condone leaving the scene of an accident where someone has clearly been fatally injured and others critically so. Sadly, Kyle and Jeanine need to be severely punished for their actions. Drunk or not drunk, the victims were on foot and not breaking any law.

      Brian Murphy - 2014-10-13 18:47

      We were found unconscious in the gravel off of the road my sister murdered and I suffer from a traumatic brain injury that has put me behind all of my former highschool classmates in college this bastard didn't even stop to see if we were alright. He just kept driving. My Captain sister Nicole Lee Murphy MD was murdered by Kyle McDonald and he has not and probably will never be forced to face what he did. He is a murderer. I'll leave it at that.

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