Humphreys 'a good community member'

2012-02-20 13:03

Cape Town - Minibus taxi driver Jacob Humphreys, who was convicted of killing 10 children, was an upstanding member of the community, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

"Community members stated that he's helped them in various ways," criminologist Claire Wolff said while reading out the pre-sentencing report in mitigation of sentence.

She said Humphreys was a ward leader for the Roman Catholic church and held regular prayer meetings and bible studies.

He was a respected member of the community and in one instance, Humphreys had offered his support to a neighbour whose child had died, and in another he supported the family of a young girl who was raped.

"I found that he has made a substantial contribution to society and this plays an important role in his life," Wolff said.

Humphreys, who had his R20 000 bail reinstated last year, was found guilty of murder and attempted murder.

Humphreys was taking the children to school on August 25, 2010 when he stopped at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath.

He overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the minibus taxi and 10 of the children were killed. Four children were seriously injured.

  • tonybighit - 2012-02-20 13:15

    He still was responsible for childrens lives... You can't pardon him because his a "Good community leader"

      FlowingRivers - 2012-02-20 14:00

      That shud count for f@#$all. Send that SOB to Pollsmor .....they r waitin for him there.............................................!

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-02-20 13:15

    Regardlesss of whether he was a good community member or not.. He willfully ignored safety signals and drove like a twat and killed 10 children.. therefore he deserves to get charged with murder.

  • dave.leverton - 2012-02-20 13:16

    20 years sounds fair to me.

      Rob - 2012-02-20 13:47

      per child

      Leon - 2012-02-20 13:49

      Yip, per child

  • phillipa.mill - 2012-02-20 13:16

    Good community member or not, you are the reason why 10 kids are dead.

  • RSole - 2012-02-20 13:19

    Some how I don't think that "helping certain community members" makes him even for murdering 10 children. Hope he sits for a long time.

  • Dennis - 2012-02-20 13:25

    "He overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks" Mmmmmm where would a "good community leader" do all that then ??? 20 x life !!

  • Wiehahn - 2012-02-20 13:26

    "Good Community member" my ass. What a load of BS! So I do 1 or 2 good things in the community now I am allowed to ignore rules and be the cause of the death of others and bring so much heart ache. Wake up! Wonder if any of their kids were in his taxi???

  • Carlo Hayes - 2012-02-20 13:27

    So if he goes to church he must be a good person?????

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-02-20 13:28

    This is a difficult call, what is the apropriate punishment in this instance? Clearly it was a error in judgement, but young lives were lost. I would not want to be the presiding judge on this one!

      Barry - 2012-02-21 08:59

      A good community and contributor to society would have stopped at the rail crossing as would any good community member.

  • celeste.rsa - 2012-02-20 13:33

    He was a very bad community member when he overtook the cars, ignored the safety signals and drove right into the path of the oncoming train. Send him straight to jail for a very long time!

  • Cara - 2012-02-20 13:34

    and this means it is ok to ignore the fact that you are responsible for the death of all those children!!!!!!!!Jail time Mr Humphreys....just want to see that smile wipe off your face...

  • ardenharvey - 2012-02-20 13:37

    The criminolgist report is not intended to relieve him of criminal charges. The difference between this guy and a notorious drug lord needs to be taken into account when sentencing is done. He is not a repeat offender, nor a thug. BUT I agree, his lack of judgment resulted in the deaths of 10 young kids. I guess all that needs to be said is if you were in his position you would also welcome the opportunity for character witnesses to be taken into account when sentencing occurred.

      rowan.maulson - 2012-02-20 13:39

      No issue with character witnesses.... But they should not be used in mitigation of his sentence, because him being a good community member is irrelevant to the case. He was a taxi driver, the likelihood that he drove as if the laws meant nothing to him is pretty good. He should be sentenced to the full extent of the law in my opinion as a beginning of a lesson to taxi drivers in general.

      Verena - 2012-02-20 14:40

      "Not a repeat offender" 10 children died, just because they all died at the same time - that seems like a lot of "repeats" to me. A mitigating factor might have included him showing remorse, but that has not been the case. No matter how many good deeds he did before and how many he might to in future there is no way any of that can make up for his actions the day the children died.

      ardenharvey - 2012-02-21 10:14

      @rowan.maulson @Verena: This is hardly an area i'm qualified to speak about... just in my opinion and the state of our justice system; Prosecutors are forced to weigh up many many factors before making a decision. There is no justification for what this man did; but he is not a cold blooded killer or a sadistic rapist. So when sentencing arrives... will he get a light sentence...the answer is "no"; the question comes in will he be eligible for parole.. and the answer should be "yes".

  • Xoli - 2012-02-20 13:39

    When peopole entrust you with the lives of their children it becomes your responsibility to make sure those kids are safe, whether or not he was a good community member or not he lost that right the day he chose to ignore the rules of the far as I'm concerned he can go to HELL..murderer...

  • andrew.farrer1 - 2012-02-20 13:58

    he was only doing what every taxi driver in SA does every day, just happened there was a level crossing in an inconvenient place! (fry them all)

  • Carl - 2012-02-20 14:03

    Who is this idiot...Killing 10 and injuring 4 because you drive like a lunatic does not make you a good community member

  • customdesign - 2012-02-20 14:05

    So no-one making comments here has ever driven recklessly?? It happens all the time but most of the time we get away with it. It is a tragedy that it happened, but the driver never intentionally went out to kill those kids, it was a bad judgement call and it could have been anyone of us sitting in a cell for a stupid mistake we made.

      TenRas1 - 2012-02-20 14:11

      we don't do that with kids in the car...

      rowan.maulson - 2012-02-20 14:11

      Yes we have all driven recklessly (according to the letter of the law at the very least). But I for one have never ever overtaken a row of cars and gone over a level crossing when the safety signals are on. Everyone is sitting and waiting at the level crossing for a reason. Actually now in hindsight, the fact that this cretin thought he could do this shows just how stupid he was. Its a huge pity that his stupidity cost 10 children their lives, it would have been much better if it had just cost him his life and the children had been able to get out safely.

      Cara - 2012-02-20 14:11

      Please stop with this "bad judgement call"....He must pay for what he did. He passed our cars, to be infront of every one else. Don't tell me "bad judgement call" my ass!!!!!!!!!

      customdesign - 2012-02-20 17:27

      His intent was not to kill those kids. He has already paid with everything he has including his reputation. I couldn't imagine what it must be like to be in his shoes right now.

  • Victor - 2012-02-20 14:07

    Hello !!!! he is a taxi driver !!!!!!!

  • Jeffrey - 2012-02-20 14:19

    Can't seem to find a minimum sentencing guideline for culpable homicide in South Africa. Just wondering how many good deeds I have to have done before I get away with killing an innocent child.

  • Bibi - 2012-02-20 14:27

    He clearly had a side to him that the community did not know about - putting kids' lives at risk every time he made an illegal crossing.

  • Gerald - 2012-02-20 14:31

    "She said Humphreys was a ward leader for the Roman Catholic church and held regular prayer meetings and bible studies" - So my brother were killed by a Saint? "Humphreys had offered his support to a neighbour whose child had died. He also played a key role in the criminal rehabilitation of a friend's daughter" - his wife brought a card and flowers to our house after the accident he never once came to say I AM SORRY FOR WHAT HAPPENED! it won't make it better but it might go a long way to forgiveness! we still live with that pain st humphrey!

  • clinton.bowden1 - 2012-02-20 14:33

    Maybe it is asking too much but 'a good community member' would respect the laws of our country as well as those set out by our transport department and not drive like a taxi, trying not to take chances with other peoples lives, jumping train track etc. Consider that in your "good community member" argument and its actually quite baseless.

  • criticallyhonest - 2012-02-20 14:46 do you ensure accountability? Certainly not by making excuses and trying to find places to hide. Take the blame, apologise, serve your time and move on!

  • Francis - 2012-02-20 14:54

    This was no "bad judgement" it was crass stupidity which I will stake money on it that it was "normal" for this guy to take chances with a load of children on board.Anyone who is put in charge of children and loses one of them must answer for it. That goes for any morons who run over children near schools by ignoring signs, crossings etc.MURDER...

  • Alan - 2012-02-20 15:02

    Good or not should or how upstanding be considered and is no excuse for absolutle bad driving or maners. on the day he made a very bad decsion for crossing the level crossing on that fateful day. If he was that caring about the comunity then he should of play it safe and waited. He should get the maxium penalty without parole for the 10 lives he took.

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