Humphreys denied leave to appeal

2012-02-28 16:58

Cape Town - An application for leave to appeal the conviction and sentencing of taxi driver Jacob Humphreys was denied by the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Defence lawyer Johann Engelbrecht presented his application to Judge Robert Henney following the handing down of an effective 20-year jail term for Humphreys.

"As far as the conviction is concerned, the court erred in its finding. It may have been gross negligence but most definitely not an intention to commit these crimes," Engelbrecht said.

He said the court could not believe the accounts of eyewitnesses as they all differed, and there was an absence of evidence and cross-examination.

Henney conceded that on a point of law, there might be an arguable case.

State prosecutor Susan Galloway said Humphreys' actions "remained those of a goal-directed person".

Engelbrecht said Henney had over-emphasised the seriousness of the offences.

Henney replied that any court had to take cognisance of society.

"How can that be an over-emphasis of the interests of society?" he asked.

"I cannot accept that a person cannot foresee this [the consequences of driving recklessly]."

The judge denied the application for leave to appeal both the conviction and sentencing.

He said he did not believe another court would impose a sentence other than direct imprisonment.

Humphreys was convicted of murder, following an accident on August 25 2010 in Cape Town. While taking children to school, he overtook a row of cars at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi, killing 10 of the children he was taking to school. Four others were seriously injured.

Henney imposed a 12-year prison sentence for each of the 10 murder charges, to run concurrently.

This came to 12 years in prison for the 10 murders.

For the four attempted murder charges, the judge handed down a six-year prison sentence for each.

Four of the six years on each charge would run concurrently with 12-year sentence for murder. This added in effect another eight years -- bringing the total jail term to 20 years.

A huge crowd stood outside the court after sentencing, some crying with relief and others shocked at the "lightness" of the sentence.

Marlene Booysen, a relative of victim 16-year-old Nadine Marthinisen, said the sentence was too light.

Battling to control her emotions, she said that while there was an end for his sentence there was no end for the pain of losing a family member.

  • matvee111 - 2012-02-28 17:07

    COOL...time the bars of hell champ...20yrs is a while...

  • Shirley - 2012-02-28 17:16

    Dude take your punishment like a man! You are alive-they arent,yet you still complain!

      kgomotso.radise - 2012-02-28 17:26

      By virtue of having sentence running concurrently it equate to denied leave of appeal to cry out lot pupil have dead

  • Poloyatonki - 2012-02-28 17:16

    WTF... Appeal what? he got a very light sentence... Shame on him.

  • David - 2012-02-28 17:16

    Must sms this article to all taxi drivers in SA, but will they take note.

  • john.h.viljoen - 2012-02-28 17:22

    what a shocking miscarriage of justice.should have been 20years for each child.

  • Shaun - 2012-02-28 17:44

    Don't get me wrong he deserves what he gets and should rot in jail. My only question, and maybe just a technicality. Isn't muder when the deaths are pre planed and carried out with intent. Should he not have been charged with manslughter

      ava1962 - 2012-02-28 17:52

      Shaun, he deliberately overtook all vehicles parked and waiting for the train to cross, he must have foreseen that what he was doing would result in an accident if he persisted in crossing the tracks whilst the booms were down.

      Pieter - 2012-02-28 18:12

      Definition: Foresee - To see or know beforehand Clairvoyant - A person who claims to have a supernatural ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact To be able to foresee it, he needs to be clairvoyant which he did not claim to be. The court therefor assumed he had supernatural powers which he did not have. It looks like the court nowadays believe in supernatural abilities and they can find you guilty on that.

      Jako - 2012-02-28 18:18

      @just my 2cents. Excuse me, what?

      Pieter - 2012-02-28 18:34

      @Jako - Let me explain To foresee means with 100% certainty he knew what the outcome would be. However, no person who knew with 100% certainty that 10 children would die and he would be sent to prison for 20 years is so stupid to continue with his actions. Humphreys is not a moron (he did posses a driver's license) So therefor, he did not foresee it as the prosecution claimed and he was convicted on being clairvoyant meaning he could foresee (see into the future) What I am saying is - nobody can foresee anything - nobody knows what the future holds.

      Bahle Mathe - 2012-02-28 19:19

      @ Pleter the law was applied Before Humphries was convicted. There is a Direct intent(Dolus Directus) where eg. A points a gun at B his enemy and shoots him with intent to kill him. There is Dolus eventualis Where A has no direct intetion to kill anyone, but he acts knowing the possibible result of his actions, but he recklessly dismisses such a posibility i.e. He forsees the outcome of his actions, then he possess intention. Mr Humphries knew that the road was closed due to the on coming train, he knew that if he crossed there was a possibility of a collision with the train which might result in injuries or Death but he recklessly dismissed that possibility and gambled with lives of children. GOOGLE DOLUS I'm sure you will learn something about criminal law

      Pieter - 2012-02-28 19:48

      @Bahle Mathe - I know about Dolus eventualis.... However, that does not turn him into a clairvoyant. I know the laws states that but that does not mean that the law is correct. I know it is used in other countries as well. Still changes nothing. Foresee means to know with absolute certainty. I will bet everything I have that if he knew that 10 children were going to die and he would spend the next 20 years in prison, then he would not have done it. They should rather was manslaughter...he was reckless and sentence him to 20 years but there is now way in hell that he could have foreseen it. I believe no person on earth could have known with 100% certainty what will happen.

      Bahle Mathe - 2012-02-28 20:10

      I hope he petitions the Supreme Court of Appeal then we will see. But it is my deep conviction that Humphries conduct went beyond negligence

      calamariman - 2012-02-28 20:35

      It is more a case of mens rea and acta rea. Both have to be present for a conviction. mens rea means having the intent to do something and acta rea means actually doing the thing. Acta rea was definitly satisfied - 10 kids were killed. Did he intend to do it? Probably not. Added to this is the following: I am willing to bet that this driver jumped the queue everyday and dodged the booms. It is the nature of our minibus drivers to do such things. Now, if he had been doing this for 10 years and had never been hit by a train, he probably, as a rerasonable man would, assumed that it was "safe". Murder? No. Manslaughter. Yes. 20 years is a very, very long time. Nothing will undo this horrific accident, nothing will take the pain away. But, we need to stick to our laws, no matter how badly we want revenge as opposed to justice.

      Renier - 2012-02-28 22:56

      @just_my_2cents: I think foresee in this case is what is expected of an reasonable man to foresee what can happen if one ignores what "can" happen when one enters a level crossing while the boom is closed. I maintain that accidents like these happen due to the attitude of most taxi drivers: Total disregard of the law and the safety of their passengers/other road users. It seems that they think that while driving that they are the only moving vehicle on the road. To make things worse this attitude is becoming the norm of most drivers.

  • guyt1 - 2012-02-28 17:51

    Time to see a taxi driver get jailed for the deaths they cause every day

  • Leendert - 2012-02-28 18:07

    Always amazes me that if so inclined, you may as well commit multiple murders/homicides at once as it makes absolutely no difference to your sentence.

  • Siphiwo - 2012-02-28 18:15

    Though I have not been following this case a lot, my heart goes out to those kids who lost their lives so young. May their parents, friends and relatives, find closure now, even though the sentence, is very light.

  • marnusmnorval - 2012-02-28 18:18

    They give criminals way to many chances to appeal.. WAy to go on this one though

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-02-28 18:31

    @roger.pacey, Who said his vehicle was unroadworthy?? He deliberately took a chance, and the children's lives into his own hands. Look at the yellow line traverler taxis around the country. I drive a 4x4 and have blocked some of these trols on the highways driving in the yellow lines, as have many others that I have seen, but it still does not help. The cANCer needs to do its bit to stop this sh1t, but it wont happen. This guy needs to be strung up, not put away for 20 years, oxygen thief.

  • Pen - 2012-02-28 18:35

    Let's see what sentence the idiot in Jozi will get for dragging a woman under his taxi will get.

  • sycomachinery - 2012-02-28 18:50

    This thing is so wrong, I'm no expert, but this sounds like manslaughter to me, not murder. Manslaughter is also a serious crime, but I think the media influenced the outcome of this court case and that is alarming

      reuben.cronje - 2012-02-29 16:30

      No, it is not manslaughter. Under SA law, you can have the intent to kill where you foresee the possibility of the death resulting but you act the same way regardless. Therefore, it is murder.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-02-28 20:09

    @Pen, I agree with you 100%. That brilliant lady, hope that she is recuperating. Haven't heard how she is recovering, but trust that she is.

  • Johnnie - 2012-02-28 22:16

    He got less than he should have got. Pity there is no more death sentence. He knew exactly what he was doing when he went pass those vehicles. He did it before. He had absolutely no remorse.The parents should wait for him when he comes out one day, and then send him to hell.

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