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KZN truck horror: No murder charges

2014-02-26 08:59

INSTANT DEATHS: A total of 24 people died during or soon after this horrific crash in Pinetown, KZN.

  Video

New aerial footage has surfaced of the horrific crash in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal where 22 people died when a truck crashed into four minibus taxis and a car. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT.

Giordano Stolley

DURBAN - Murder charges will be dropped against a Swazi truck driver whose vehicle killed 24 people in Pinetown, KZN, in 2013..

His lawyer Lindokuhle Mdletshe said on February 25: "The charges are no longer murder. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions has advised us that it is changing the charges to culpable homicide."

Sanele Goodness May had a brief appearance in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court by video link from Durban's Westville Prison.

COPY OF LETTER

Mdletshe was speaking outside the court after he advised the court that he had new reasons for bringing a fresh bail application. "Dropping the murder charges was one reason for a new bail application," he explained, but did not elaborate on other reasons and they were not raised in court.

Mdletshe showed a copy of his letter from the DPP outside the court and said he had been advised that the 24 murder charges would be dropped - probably after the indictment was served. The case against May was adjourned to March 28 2014 to allow time for that and for police to investigate  information about the bew bail application.

May was denied bail in 2013 by Magistrate Gwendolyn Robinson who said he was a flight risk. She said he was in the country illegally and for her to grant him bail the court would be required to legalise his residency status while awaiting trial. The court did not have such authority.

DEFENCE LAWYER WARNED

On the evening of September 5 2013 (video), at the height of rush hour traffic, May's truck ploughed into four minibus taxis and two cars at the traffic-lights controlled road junction at the bottom of Fields Hill in Pinetown. Twenty-two people died at the scene, two in hospital.

At the time of his bail hearing defence lawyer Louis Barnard told the court the murder charges would not stand, citing Cape Town's Jacob Humphreys case: he was charged with 10 counts of murder after jumping a queue of cars waiting at a railway crossing in August 2010.

A train collided with his minibus and 10 children were killed. Humphreys was convicted of murder but the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the charges and replaced them with 10 counts of culpable homicide. His original 20-year sentence was cut to eight years.

A KZN prosecuting Authority spokesperson confirmed the charges would be changed to culpable homicide but referred questions about the reasons to a more senior spokesperson, who could not  be reached.

Google more on the Pinetown crash.
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