Media portrays Humphreys as monster

2012-02-20 14:45

Cape Town - The media has played a large part in portraying a negative image of taxi driver Jacob Humphreys, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

"He has been labelled as 'jakkals' [jackal] and as a child murderer," criminologist Claire Wolff said while reading out the pre-sentencing report in mitigation of sentence.

"Most people receive information about such events from the media, thus the media has a unique ability to direct and persuade public opinion," she said.

It was the belief of Humphreys' family that most negative feelings came from further afield than his community.

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

He was taking the children to school on August 25 2010 when he stopped at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

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

Wolff said that after conducting interviews with his family and friends, she believed he was an upstanding community member.

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.

  • Johan - 2012-02-20 14:56

    He's still a monster though

      procold2 - 2012-02-20 15:07

      maybe so, but wont face the full might of the law here, all these positives are only gearing the public up for a light sentence,hope i am wrong though cause he deserves the maximum.

      Deon - 2012-02-20 15:07

      Killing 10 children qualifies as a monster.

      Stephen - 2012-02-20 15:23

      It was his negligence which led to the death of 10 innocent children yet he is no murderer/monster. There was no premeditation or criminal intent, just criminal negligence. He is not a danger to society, just to other road users. While the extent of his negligence is inexcusable he doesn't deserve to be removed from society and condemned to a life behind bars like serial killers and rapists. 5 years and a lifetime ban from driving is what he needs. I'm sure he is suffering more from his feeling of guilt than he will in prison. The sign of a true monster is no remorse. I'm sure he is suffering inside.

      dave.leverton - 2012-02-20 15:30

      If that was the case he would have been charged with culpable homicide. The prosecution obviously felt there was sufficient reason to predict the outcome of running a closed boom - thus showing premeditation and the murder charge. The same goes for the Jub Jub case.

      Cast53 - 2012-02-20 15:34

      So Stephan if one of these children were yours, will you still believe he only deserve a slap on the wrist? He gambled with the childrens lifes and deserve the maximum, put him back on the road and tomorrow he kills your wife, child, parents etc

      Danny - 2012-02-20 16:14

      @ Steven - that is a fair and well thought out comment however, given the blatant disregard for basic laws of the road by him and many people in this country in general, I suspect that he will be made an example of

      Stephen - 2012-02-20 16:55

      @Cast53, emotions cloud judgement, you should know that. Hence the victim's parents are calling for his head. Skipping the train booms is culpable homicide and negligence, not criminal intent to murder. As I said the difference between him and real monsters is that he will live with this this guilt for the rest of his life and I'm sure he experiences suicidal thoughts every day for what he did. This is a greater punishment than any prison sentence can cause.

      Trevor - 2012-02-20 17:03

      and you still get people that disagree

      Justin - 2012-02-21 10:54

      Judging from the way he was laughing and waving at the crown at his first hearing, I would be of the opinion that he is not remorseful, and indeed, loved the attention. A monster in my opinion.

  • John - 2012-02-20 14:59

    I think Claire Wolff needs to a career change. Just because he is "supposed" to be an upstanding pillar of the community does not mean he is not a child murderer. He, by his own arrogance,caused the death of 10 innoncents. A lot of people thought Adolf Hitler was a nice person because he was a vegetarian, did not smoke, was a teatotaller and was kind and attentive to women.

  • Xoli - 2012-02-20 15:03

    Go to HELL, he is not only a JAKALS he is a flippin murderer...Hope he gets what he deserves in pollsmoor prison..Pappa wag vir jou

  • dave.leverton - 2012-02-20 15:05

    "He has been labelled as a child murderer," That's because he is a child murderer.

  • Dee - 2012-02-20 15:07

    He must just roat in Jail.

      Grimmister - 2012-02-20 15:14

      I fully agree with you Dee

  • winston.mullany - 2012-02-20 15:07

    He jumped a railway crossing and killed 10 kids! Tell me why I should have sympathy for a man like this, no matter what amount of good his done!

  • Dennis - 2012-02-20 15:07

    Did the media make him do this - "overtook a row of cars, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks" Send the monster to the gallows !!!

  • muller791 - 2012-02-20 15:08

    Well if he is such an upstanding citizen and a man of God and is such a great neighbour why did he not practice what he preaches and think of those children's lives the morning he decided to jump that level crossing.

  • Holden - 2012-02-20 15:10

    If the media continue reporting in this manner I shall have no hesitation in continuing to oppose the Secrecy Bill.

  • NrGx - 2012-02-20 15:15

    Oh for goodness sake! if its not apartheid's fault, its the media's. LEARN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS. And all these lawyers have climbed onto the same bandwagon, because its creates "a trial within a trial", and will drag on for years while the murderers, rapists etc are free. Come on guys and gals, where has the morals of our society gone?!

  • May - 2012-02-20 15:17

    Hi should rot in jail along side his lawyer!!!

  • Angus - 2012-02-20 15:28

    Just shows you the falseness of people today. Just the act of passing a string of cars waiting at a red train crossing, shows this man had no respect for the law, was blind, had no respect for his fellow road users, and committed a blatant crime. Dozens of lives have been changed forever because of the senseless & barbaric act.

  • Trevor - 2012-02-20 15:29

    You can feed 100000 people in abject povety, if molest one of there children, you are a monster. He must get the maximum sentence

  • mabotjak - 2012-02-20 15:30

    I know what this chap is going through. I once run-over a child not because i was speeding or driving recklessly,it a mistake on the part of child who crossed the red robot.But i could not live with my-self,the guilt that i went through was nu-bearable. It took a split second and everything was a mess. He gonna need serious counseling to get over this one.

      Cast53 - 2012-02-20 15:41

      He choose the gamble with the childrens lifes (driving on shoulder of road, ignoring a warning light and overtaking a line of cars there was a reason they were waiting by the crossing), you did not it is 2 different scenarios and can't be compared

      Ally - 2012-02-20 15:44

      It sounds as if the child was at fault by crossing the red robot. It was not your fault. You did not deliberately transgress the law and cause the accident. However, Humphreys blatantly transgressed the law, and from other reports it was not the first time he had diced with the train and dodged between the booms when they were down.

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-02-20 15:30

    Turns out that this Clair Wolff has only had her qualifications since 2011.... And this is the best forensic criminologist they could get?.. really?... I'm guessing every other forensic criminologist looked at the case and went "No thanks, not touching that with a bargepole"

      Jeffrey - 2012-02-20 16:22

      Yes, apparently she had only been pracising as a forensic criminlogist for 3 months. When she inteviewed the kids' parents she never told them that she was representing Humphreys. They should take her licence, or whatever, away.

  • Rob - 2012-02-20 15:39

    It was especially good of Mr. Humphreys to ignore the law and single handedly wipe 10 human beings off the face of the earth. If there were more people like him this world would be a great place, right Mr Wolff??

  • Stan - 2012-02-20 15:42

    child killers normally don't get to live long in prison. imagine having killed ten.

  • Mark - 2012-02-20 15:44

    like none of you break the law, you bunch of hypocrites, like jumping stop streets, traffic lights , talking on your cell phones to name a few. The only difference between you all and Mr Humphreys is that he got caught and he is paying the price, he has already from that dreaded day until today and tomorrow as well. So you all don't need to worry as I am sure you are all upstanding folks that are squeaky clean baying for blood like pack animals. Justice will be served through the courts not your mindless witchhunt.

      Jeffrey - 2012-02-20 16:25

      No! The difference is that he deliberately diced with the lives of a vehicle full of schoolkids. How many posting here have done that? None, I'll warrant.

  • Rob - 2012-02-20 15:49

    If this is true, why did he break the law and kill so many people? Sorry for his wife and family, but he deserves to rot in jail.

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-02-20 15:49

    regarding the headline: this is because he is stupid enough to break road rules that resulted in the death of 10 children. generally only stupid people are monsters, so it makes sense.

  • berthram - 2012-02-20 15:54

    Regardless if he was a monster or if he was an outstanding community member, his SERIOUS lack of obeying the rules of the road and the law, cost 10 children their lives and their families a lot of hurt. This is the news we have come to hear everyday: taxi drivers disobeying roadrules to either get another customer, or to reach a destination quicker. The results are dire and if nothing is done about it, another taxi driver will be taking chances and cost more lives. So yes, he is a monster for driving like a criminal and not taking the lives of the children in his vehicle serious.

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2012-02-20 15:57

    Surely any normal person with a minibus full of children would think twice before doing something so reckless. He deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law. His actions were arrogant and foolish. Been a religious man I am sure god will give him the strength to bear his punishment. If one of my kids was in that minibus I would hunt him down and kill him. Then take the punishment I deserve.

  • jerry.pres - 2012-02-20 16:00

    "Humphreys was a ward leader for the Roman Catholic Church and held regular prayer meetings and bible studies." Now he should have enough time for his bible study.

  • mybas27 - 2012-02-20 16:17

    If Humphreys is such an "outstanding" person with such good morals as this criminologist Claire Wolff suggests, then why has he not shown one iota of remorse for what happened because of his actions. He instead has the audacity to claim that those children were all " meant to die " and that GOD used him as a " Tool " to deliver those poor helpless kids unto HIM. Does that speak of the type of person we would like to represent our communities or entrust our kids with? I THINK NOT!

      Ken - 2012-02-20 22:55

      Is what you say true ? I don't think so.

  • lisa.evansdominick - 2012-02-20 16:19

    this man totally abused the trust the parents of these poor children placed in him. He took the money and then killed the children by being totally reckless and had no regard for rules of the road or safety of the children, now he wants sympathy. what sympathy has he shown to the parents who lost their children? Bit late now, he was seen jumping the railway lines when the boom was down on a regular basis, it was not a once off incident.... he must carry the full blame for the loss of life...

  • phorane.thokoane - 2012-02-20 17:24

    Always blame the media; why not!...... It is so irritating though because when people commit their stupid acts, they forget that the media exist; when the media starts fielding the information, we blame them...... Why act stupid and kill children in the first place...... Let the media do their job, for Pete's sakes......

  • Ken - 2012-02-22 23:28

    He is not a monster. He did something really bad and deserves to be punished but he does not deserve to be the recipient of our revenge.

  • pages:
  • 1