Taxi driver played 'Russian roulette'

2011-12-09 16:15

Cape Town - Minibus taxi driver Jacob Humphreys foresaw the consequences of skipping through a closed train level crossing, the Western  Cape High Court heard on Friday.

"I want to prove to the court that he played Russian roulette," prosecutor Susan Galloway said during closing arguments.

She said she would show Humphreys had subjectively foreseen the possibility of his act causing death and was therefore insensitively reckless.

Humphreys faces 10 charges of murder, or alternatively manslaughter, as well as four of attempted murder, or assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The vehicle he was driving was hit by a train on August 25 last year and 10 children he was transporting were killed.

Defence lawyer Johann Engelbrecht said his client suffered from retrograde amnesia and could not remember anything from the time his car stood still at the Buttskop level crossing to the time he woke up and was taken to hospital.

Psychotic amnesia

Galloway would argue that Humphreys was suffering from psychotic amnesia rather than actual amnesia.

To prove amnesia, Humphreys would have to prove he was in a highly emotional state just before the crash. He would also have to prove there was a "trigger event" which caused him to act automatically, she said.

She believed none of these conditions existed and that Humphreys acted of his own accord.

Judge Robert Henney said he would have to decide on how truthful Humphreys was in saying he had memory loss.

"What is strange for me is that he remembers the moment just before the accident but nothing else."

He said if Humphreys' vehicle had stood still behind another vehicle, it should have been that vehicle which was hit.

Henney added that it was impossible to say that someone could not have foreseen a train coming.

He said placing children in front of an oncoming train could be likened to putting them in a pit full of snakes or a cage full of lions.

He warned Engelbrecht that if Humphreys disputed any theories by the State of what happened, it meant he could remember what happened.

Humphreys, dressed in green shirt and dark pants, wrung his hands when told judgment would be passed on Monday.

He was out on R20 000 bail.

  • RPhiri - 2011-12-09 16:27

    If he wanted company he should've played Russian roulette in a room entirely made of mirrors and also to make sure that all chambers of the gun were filled with bullets. One should not gamble with peoples' lives.

      MikeLearview - 2011-12-09 18:15

      I can't imagine why he was allowed out on bail in the first place.

      Squeegee - 2011-12-09 19:03

      He did what taxi drivers do every day. They refuse to stand in line and just push to the front. Only this time he met his match. Unfortunately his selfishness had caused huge pain to ten families.

      Yurak - 2011-12-10 11:23

      Why can't this slithering snake just admit that HE fu$ked up and do your time in jail. YOU KILLED INOCENT CHILDREN!!!!, JUST GO TO JAIL OR KILL YOURSELF! COWARD!!. And don't you dare call yourself a man.

      Anthony - 2011-12-10 14:17

      is there a taxi death count so far from 1st december would like to know?

  • Tammy - 2011-12-09 16:30

    May God be with you, Mister.

  • Bob - 2011-12-09 16:33

    So the new line of defense in SA to try and escape culpability or prosecution or incarceration is illness...!

  • john.h.viljoen - 2011-12-09 16:56

    pappa wag vir jou!!!!

  • Neville - 2011-12-09 17:02

    Christmas Chicken in jail

  • braamc - 2011-12-09 17:23

    All taxi drivers have memory loss for the loss of peoples lives. Go to jail your murderer

  • nixwest - 2011-12-09 17:36

    sick! sick! sick! Btwn this b***** and that Jub Jub...."blacking out" seems to be the new excuse for playing with others lives and trying to weedle your way out of the conviction you actually deserve. Anyone who does not follow the law on the roads (yes, that includes you Mr Minister with your blue lights jumping stop streets!) must pay the consequences. Bad memory is no excuse. These murderers must be shown that no-one is above the law, that money does not buy you protection from what you have done - other peoples lives have forever been darkened because of your selfish actions.

      Gail - 2011-12-10 11:39

      Don't forget being drunk like the guy in JHB at 6.00 a.m. in the morning who killed 5 people. None of these should be seen as "extenuating" circumstances. If you want to gamble with your life go ahead but know that the minute you pick up or use illegal substances or break laws and get behind the wheel of a car you KNOW that those substances i.e. alcohol especially affect your reactions and your inability to say no to any of those things can kill innocent people who have people who love them. While in jail you should be forced to work and earn money which goes to the victims families and not yours, scrubbing floors and toilets and dirty dishes and ironing and hand laundry - no news from outside. Earn your right to a blanket then a mattrass and a toilet. Instead of the victims families and the lawabiding citizens having to support your miserable ass.

  • Katlego - 2011-12-09 18:02

    Rather he pay for his sins in this wolrd as they are far better than those in the next life, that know no end..

  • Glenn - 2011-12-09 20:31

    Where do Taxi Drivers get 20k from?

  • velastardust - 2011-12-09 22:10

    Oh please! What is happening in this country? People commit crimes and when they get caught out, they plead illness, cry and now... memory loss! Not good enough! Lock him up, 25 years minimum! We don't need people like him on our roads!

  • Nitroman - 2011-12-09 22:56

    He stood still? Where? On the tracks? Was he trying to commit suicide? Pls just put him away for good.

  • George - 2011-12-10 10:00

    Time to change this to "Taxi roulette"

  • Gail - 2011-12-10 11:29

    Jail him for a long long time so that he can never do this again! Deny him access to appeal as well as any visitiation rights with his own family and friends for as long as he is in prison. Why should he be allowed to lead an incarcerated life where he has access to his children and wife and frienbds by any means when he has removed the chance of any of those families of ever hearing their children's voices again or being able to hug them and see them grow into the potnetial they had. No letters, e-mails or sms's either. He should have died with them and should wish for that once sentenced for what he did.

  • Comrade - 2011-12-10 14:59


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