Justice for bereaved family in 10-year-old crash case

2017-10-27 13:45

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Former Pietermaritzburg man Grant du Bois has finally got justice for his late wife, Lynette, 10-and-a-half years after she died in a car accident in the CBD.

This follows the conviction on Thursday of former taxi driver Sbongiseni Khuzwayo on a charge of culpable homicide for driving through a red robot on March 16, 2007, causing her death.

The case was steeped in controversy for many years resulting from ongoing delays in Khuzwayo’s trial caused by various factors including changes to his legal team — one due to the death of his attorney — and documents and recordings that got lost.

On the point of giving judgment, the previous magistrate recused himself from the case and a fresh trial was then ordered.

The new case began on October 10 and was finalised on Thursday.

Although Khuzwayo had pleaded not guilty at the start of the case to the main charge of culpable homicide (alternatively reckless and negligent driving or inconsiderate driving), he later decided not to testify in his defence.

His attorney, Zamo Nondaba, suggested to the prosecution witnesses that Khuzwayo would allege that the robot was green in his favour when he entered the intersection between Langalibalele and West streets.

She also said he did not agree with the findings of SAPS Accident Unit Inspector Frederick Jonkers about where the actual impact had taken place.

However, when the state closed its case last week, Khuzwayo declined to testify in the case under oath to confirm his version.

Giving judgment on Thursday, magistrate Chris van Vuuren said Khuzwayo had confirmed to the court that he was aware of the danger of electing not to testify in the case. He was also aware that he had a right to call other witnesses to support his case.

In the circumstances, Van Vuuren said the court was left to decide the case based on the version of the four state witnesses as well as some documentary evidence and admissions that were made by the defence at the start of the case. He said there was no reason to reject the evidence of any of the state witnesses.

This included the testimony of Grant du Bois, who was the driver of the car in which his wife was killed, and motorist Alida Griesel, who was an eye witness to the collision.

According to them, Khuzwayo’s vehicle must have driven through a red robot because the light had been green in their favour.

Van Vuuren said he could not find any reason to conclude that either of them were unreliable witnesses. “They provided clear and logical accounts of events and there is nothing to suggest that they colluded to falsify evidence,” he said.

“Each of them was simply driving along West Street oblivious of each other until the collision,” he said.

He said Du Bois did not see Khuzwayo’s vehicle. He testified that “out of nowhere” he had heard an explosion as a car collided into them.

He said under the circumstances, Khuzwayo was “grossly negligent” and showed flagrant disregard for the safety of other road users resulting in Lynette du Bois’s death.

The case was postponed to November 9 for sentencing.

Grant du Bois, who was away on holiday on Thursday, welcomed news of the conviction.

“I am so glad justice has prevailed even though it has taken 10-and-a-half years. He is guilty of killing my wife and destroying my family,” he said.

He thanked all those concerned in finalising the case, as well as Alida Griesel, for coming forward as a witness in the matter.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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