House arrest for killer driver 'a slap on the wrist'

2016-01-22 12:55
Steve and Susan Wootton. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Steve and Susan Wootton. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town – A family was devastated when the motorist who killed their teenage son was given less than a year’s house arrest and a suspended jail term on Friday.

“We are very disappointed. Devastated. It’s a slap on the wrist,” said Steve Wootton, minutes after Schalk Lubbe was sentenced in the Strand Regional Court for killing his son Jake.

“I just don’t think it’s long enough for what we’ve gone through and are still going through. He can enjoy his Christmas again.”

Supporting his face with a hand, and holding back tears with his wife Susan next to him, he added: “I don’t feel like we have closure.”

The court handed down nine months’ house arrest to 28-year-old Lubbe and suspended his driver’s licence for six months.

He also received five years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years on condition he not be convicted of a similar offence in that period.

Milnerton High head boy Jake Wootton, 18, was killed when Lubbe knocked him down in Hermanus on April 4, 2012. It was the first day of the teen’s seaside holiday.

Lubbe was acquitted of drunken driving, as blood samples had not immediately been taken.

The court found correctional supervision was a suitable sentence because he was a first offender and it believed he had shown remorse.

“The offence that you have been convicted of, Mr Lubbe, is regarded in a serious light. A person has lost his life due to your negligence,” regional magistrate Franceline Mouton said.

“No sentence can bring him back and for that you will have to live with your actions,” Mouton told Lubbe.

Lubbe refused to comment as he walked quickly out of court with girlfriend Elrize and other family members. His mother chose not to speak to media.

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Addressing aggravating factors, Mouton told Lubbe that his duty as a reasonable driver that night was to have kept a proper lookout on both lanes of traffic while exiting a traffic circle.

She said he had shown “flagrant disregard” for the safety of pedestrians he was already aware of when exiting.

“Coupled with that, even though your speed at the time was moderate and probably within the speed limits, it was not a safe speed under the circumstances.”

The court added that it was time for drivers to be taken to task and be more aware of road users, including pedestrians.

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