Ford Kuga death: 'It's been a fight to get to this day', says family as inquest is set to begin

2018-11-23 17:12
Reshall Jimmy's sister Renisha, with her attorney Rod Montano and advocate Gerrie Nel. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Reshall Jimmy's sister Renisha, with her attorney Rod Montano and advocate Gerrie Nel. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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WATCH: Test drive from hell as another Ford Kuga bursts into flames

2018-06-19 15:14

Yet another Ford Kuga has burst into flames. This time as a Ford employee was taking a client's vehicle for a test drive in Johannesburg. Watch.WATCH

The family of Reshall Jimmy, who was found dead in a burnt Ford Kuga in 2015, hopes an inquest into his death will bring them the closure they need to understand his passing.

The Jimmy family and the Ford Motor Company met in the Western Cape High Court on Friday to plot the way forward for an official inquest, finally set down for February, 2019.

Speaking on the sidelines of Friday's proceedings, sister Renisha said: "It's been a fight to get to this day. We are happy as a family that it is actually happening."

The Ford Motor Company told the court on Friday it would cooperate fully with the planned inquest.

"There has been a very serious outcry," the company's advocate Andre Bezuidenhout told Judge Robert Henney.

"Let me make it clear: from our client's side, the cooperation which we present to your lordship will be complete and full," said Bezuidenhout.

Jimmy was found dead in a burnt out Ford Kuga in Wildnerness, George, on December 4, 2015. More reports of Kugas catching fire emerged and Ford would later issue recall notices to make adjustments to some of its models.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) declined to prosecute anybody in connection with Jimmy's death.

On Friday, it emerged that up to 30 witnesses could be called to testify in terms of the Inquest Act.

Health to come under spotlight 

This includes the first people at the scene, right down to the people who bagged and tagged evidence from the vehicle, and his vehicle service records.

Details of Jimmy's private life could also be revealed as his phone and vehicle tracker records are expected to be drawn and discussed in court.

His own health before his death may also come under the spotlight.

READ: Ford Kuga fire saga: Sister claims Ford wanted family to say brother shot himself in exchange for R1m car

According to Bezuidenhout, the post-mortem results showed a higher than usual level of sodium fluoride in Jimmy's body after his death.

"This is usually found in toothpaste," submitted Bezuidenhout.

The court discussed who would be best placed to discuss toxicology and pathology results, and crucially, who would provide information on the finer details of automotive technology.

Jimmy's family now has the support of AfriForum's private prosecution wing, headed by advocate Gerrie Nel after he resigned from the NPA.

Suicide claims rejected by family

According to Nel and the family, a settlement offer was made after numerous meetings between Ford and the family, they said on Thursday.

Renisha on Thursday said they were offered a R1m vehicle and a trust meant for charity if the family made an admission that Reshall died from a gunshot wound.

On Friday, she rejected the allegation that her brother had killed himself, and felt it was important to get the large corporate company to accept responsibility if they had done anything wrong.

Her lawyer attorney Rod Montano told News24 on Friday that if the inquest determines that the vehicle company was at fault for Jimmy's death, the NPA could institute culpable homicide charges against Ford.

"The CEO of Ford could go on trial," said Montano, explaining one possible outcome.

Bezuidenhout said that it would not be necessary to subpoena any witnesses from Ford Motor Company's side as the company would make sure they were all present at court, even flying them in from abroad if necessary.

The inquest has been set down to run from Mondays to Thursdays, starting from February 4.

Read more on:    ford kuga  |  reshall jimmy
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