A charge of reckless or negligent driving against a taxi driver, who had knocked down an athlete in Pretoria, is blatantly inadequate and a charge of attempted murder should be investigated against him because he had purposefully disobeyed traffic laws, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Transport says.
According to Beeld (27 May 2014), Melany Delaney (28), an occupational therapist, is on a ventilator and could possibly have brain damage after being knocked down on Monday morning in Stanza Bopape Street (the former Church Street) in Arcadia, Pretoria, while she was training for the Comrades.
According to eye-witnesses, Delaney had been standing at a red traffic light and waited until it changed to green before she started to run. The minibus taxi came from the opposite side and rammed into her at high speed.
Adv. Anton Alberts says the total lack of adhering to the traffic rules is the result of insufficient punishment which does not serve as a deterrent.
“In this case it is clear that the person did not intend to stop at the red traffic light and should therefore have to had foreseen that he could kill a person or seriously injure someone and had reconciled him to that possibility. A mere charge of reckless and/or negligent driving is therefore insufficient. The FF Plus will therefore direct a request to the prosecuting authority to institute a charge of attempted murder against the driver.
“In addition the person had sped away and has not been taken into custody. This should act as aggravating circumstances which should count against him at sentencing.
“This incident is once again reminiscent of the circumstances in which Bernadine Kruger of Pretoria died when a taxi had knocked her off her scooter.
“In that case, the taxi driver, Percyval Matji, was sentenced to twelve years in prison after the court had found that he had purposefully knocked her down. The charges of culpable homicide were changed to that of murder after the FF Plus had submitted a request to the prosecuting authority.
“It is time that the lawlessness on our roads is stopped with heavier punishments. As long as sentences do not serve as a deterrent, the carnage on our roads will just continue,” Adv. Anton Alberts said. That is why the state should prosecute drivers by using more serious charges where circumstances permit it. The FF Plus will continue to play a role to ensure that our roads become safer.
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