HARSH PUNISHMENT: The State has suggested that 'blue lights' driver Joseph Semetjie, who left Thomas Ferreira brain damaged when he crashed into him in 2011, should go to jail. Image: Shutterstock
KRUGERSDORP, West Rand - The 'blue lights' driver who left Thomas Ferreira brain damaged when he crashed into him should not get away with a slap on the wrist, the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday (Nov 20 2014).
Prosecutor Micky Thesna told the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court during sentencing proceedings for Joseph Motsamai Semitjie: "The last thing this country needs is for this accused to have a slap on the wrist."
Thesna argued the rules of the road should apply equally to everyone and said: "The court has the unique opportunity to shift its focus to the only real VIP that was on the road that day and it was Thomas Ferreira."
Thesna disagreed with the sentence of correctional supervision and a fine proposed earlier by Semitjie's lawyer, Thomas Mohlobogoane. She said: "It is my submission that the sentence suggested is wholly inappropriate."
Ferreira's parents sat in the second row of the public gallery. His mother's hands were clenched in her lap and his father occasionally put his arm around her shoulders.
Thesna suggested Semitjie be sent to jail. The culture and attitude on South Africa's roads needed to change, she said. "The accused very clearly acted recklessly. This accused was employed with the South African Police Services, specifically there to serve and protect his community and what he did was the complete opposite."
LIFETIME OF PROBLEMS
Thesna said Semitjie had not shown remorse and was more worried about the damage to his vehicle than to the harm he had done to a human being.
Earlier, the court heard that Ferreira would have to live with severe mental problems for the rest of his life.
Semitjie was driving then Gauteng housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi to a meeting when he crashed into Ferreira, who was on a motorbike, in November 2011. During the trial the court heard that Semitjie was driving on the left side of the yellow line, had not switched on his siren, and went through a red traffic light.
Ferreira, who was 18 at the time, suffered head injuries and was comatose for weeks. He spent months in rehabilitation.
Sentencing is expected to continue on January 28.