Reconstruction specialist in Durban cyclists case accused of being biased

2018-01-17 16:18
The car which had smashed into the cyclists. (Photos supplied by Garrith Jamieson, Rescuecare)

The car which had smashed into the cyclists. (Photos supplied by Garrith Jamieson, Rescuecare)

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Durban - A police accident reconstruction specialist, testifying in the culpable homicide trial of Durban motorist Omesh Ramnarain, was accused of "being biased against the accused" yesterday.

Alleging that Warrant Officer Dumisani Gasa had "manufactured evidence", Ramnarain's advocate Murray Pitman pointed to the fact that since 1997, the policeman had attended 1 200 fatal collisions.

"Your job is to obtain objective evidence… I put it to you that you are not telling this court the truth," he said.

Gasa denied the allegation.

The policeman was on the scene of the accident in the early hours of February 7, 2016, which resulted in the deaths of two cyclists Richard da Silva and Jared Dwyer.

READ: Durban cyclists were chatting, laughing before deadly crash, court hears

The two had been part of a larger group of cyclists who were heading north out of Durban on the M4 when a black Golf GTI, driven by Ramnarain, crashed into the back of them.

Evidence before Durban Regional Court Magistrate Anand Maharaj has been that the impact was so great that the two men flew through the air before landing some distance from the point of impact.

There has also been evidence that Ramnarain - who was returning from a night out at a local club - smelled of alcohol.

Ramnarain has pleaded not guilty, saying he drank only four ciders that night. He says he did not see the cyclists at all before he heard a "bang" and his windscreen shattered. He claims they must have been cycling in the left-hand lane, and not the emergency lane.

Gasa claims the impact occurred well within the emergency lane. He says he saw Ramnarain being led to a police vehicle and he was "unsteady on his feet". Later, he spoke to him and could smell alcohol on his breath.

ALSO READ: I was not drunk - motorist charged with killing two cyclists

Pitman said his client did not recall speaking to Gasa at all.

He questioned why Gasa had not written his observations down suggesting that he was "reporting what you heard from other people…. not what you saw".

While Gasa testified that he had seen a "flashing red light" on the back of one of the mangled bicycles, he could not explain why there was no photograph of that.

He could also not explain why there was no debris at the alleged point of impact and on what he based his prior evidence that Ramnarain had been driving at "above average speed".

Gasa is expected to return to court on Thursday with more photographs of the scene and to answer more questions.

Read more on:    durban  |  courts  |  accidents

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