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12 Sep 2016
3:02 pm

Defence probes handling of Simba Mhere’s crash site


Roets told the court introducing evidence at such a late stage in the trial would be unfair to Naidoo, who faces two charges of culpable homicide.

Simba Mhere died in a tragic car accident on William Nicol Drive while on his way to the airport for the 2015 J&B Met in Cape Town. Photo: Gallo images

The manner in which metro police examined the accident scene where Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere died was questioned by defence attorney Advocate François Roets on Monday at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court.

Roets is defending Preshalin Naidoo‚ 24, who faces two charges of culpable homicide relating to the car crash in which Mhere and his passenger Kady-Shay O’Bryan died. The crash, which involved three cars, occurred along William Nicol Drive in Fourways‚ Johannesburg, on January 31‚ 2015.

Mhere’s father, who was in the passenger front seat of the vehicle, as well as Naidoo, were taken to hospital following the accident.

Since then Naidoo has appeared in court several times.

On Monday, when the matter resumed, defence lawyer Roets sought clarity on how the examination of the accident site was carried out by metro police.

Metro police officer Vusi Khambule said it was his responsibility to find out if the accident was due to human error or a mechanical fault. Khambule said he visited the crash scene and ensured it was not tampered with.

“There are photos that I took as I found the bodies and after the EMS guys moved them,” Khambule said.

Roets argued the scene had been tampered with. He referred to pictures that showed the positioning of Mhere and his passengers, as well as tyre marks, which he said could have been caused by mechanical malfunction of the vehicle.

Under cross examination, Khambule agreed with Roets that there was “a possibility” of a mechanical failure occurring in the vehicle that Naidoo was driving.

Naidoo maintained there was a mechanical failure that occurred on the right front tyre of his vehicle, which caused the accident.

Roets then took issue with the State’s intention to introduce new witnesses. The defence lawyer told the court the move was unfair to this client because they had not seen the affidavits submitted by those witnesses.

“Justice is a two-way street and the public has to see that people who committed crimes were brought to book. This morning it appears that there are more people who will be witnesses, but we don’t have affidavits allowing them to give evidence,” Roets said, adding: “It seems like there’s a trial by ambush.”

State prosecutor Thys de Jager said the witnesses present were people who would testify about how GPS systems worked, as well as the person who evaluated the insurance claim that was made by Naidoo.

Roets told the court that introducing evidence at such a late stage in the trial would be unfair to Naidoo.

“The fact is the court had to see that justice is done with awareness of the rights of the accused and the deceased. The court should rule against the State introducing their evidence at this stage,” Roets said.

Court has been adjourned to Tuesday.

– African News Agency (ANA)