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KZN crash: 'Charges won't stand'

2013-10-17 08:07

FACING FACTS: Louis Barnard, the lawyer standing for Pinetown horror-crash driver Sanele May, believes the murder charges against his client will not stand. Image: YouTube

Giordano Stolley

DURBAN, South Africa - Murder charges will not stand against the driver of the truck that killed 23 people in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal according to the lawyer standing for driver Sanele Goodness May.

Louis Barnard told the Pinetown Magistrate's Court on Wednesday (Oct 16): "One only needs to look at the Humphreys matter to know that he will not be convicted of murder."

May is facing 24 murder charges after his truck ploughed into four minibus taxis and two cars at a road junction in Pinetown on September 5 2013 and 22 people died. Another two died in hospital.


Barnard was referring to the case of Western Cape taxi driver Jacob Humphreys who was charged with 10 counts of murder after jumping a queue of cars and driving past a railway-track boom in August 2010. Ten children in his taxi were killed.

He was convicted of murder but the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the murder charges in March and replaced them with 10 counts of culpable homicide and cut his 20-year sentence to eight years.

Barnard said that, to find May guilty, the court would have to find he was suicidal on the night of the crash. Arguing that May be granted bail, he told the court there was no evidence linking his client to murder.

Barnard questioned the logic of May wanting to be a fugitive for life and submitted that May was unlikely to get a more severe sentence than of Humphreys. He also said the young man should also be allowed to return home to Swaziland. There was an extradition treaty between the two countries, he said, and a written commitment from the Swaziland High Commission to ensure that May attended court.

Earlier, the court heard that May had a fake public driving permit. Detective Warrant Officer Sanjeev Singh said officials from Swaziland's transport department had confirmed that May's public driving permit, which allowed him to drive trucks and is recognised in South Africa, was a forgery.

Singh said though May did have a valid Swazi driving licence he would have been legally allowed to apply for his Swazi public driving permit only in February 2014.


Singh said May had a fake South African traffic register certificate, which he obtained on the basis of his fake Swazi public driving permit. The certificate in May's possession and bearing his name belonged to another person, Nkosinathi Dladla.

Singh was giving evidence at May's formal bail application. The prosecution has opposed bail. Barnard said May had no idea that his documents were fake - he had used an agent to obtain them. The court was also told that May was illegally in the country and did not have a work permit.

May initially faced culpable homicide charges but these were later changed to murder and a charge of reckless or negligent driving.

May's supporters packed the court on Wednesday. He had a colourful, quilted blanket over his head when he entered the court. Scores of media photographers took pictures of him and filmed his entrance.

Robinson said she would hand down her decision on October 22.

Read more on:    jacob humphreys  |  sanele may  |  pinetown  |  durban

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