South Africa 30.10.2017 03:56 pm

State questions defence expert in Top Billing presenter accident case

FILE: The Randburg Magistrate's Court. PHOTO: Lindi Masinga/ANA

FILE: The Randburg Magistrate's Court. PHOTO: Lindi Masinga/ANA

The case was postponed to January 15, 2018, for arguments.

The state on Monday questioned the credibility of the defence’s accident reconstructionist in the trial of Preshalin Naidoo, who was involved in the fatal car accident in which Top Billing television presenter Simba Mhere was killed.

FILE PIC -- JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 7: Top Billing Presenter Simba Mhere during an interview on June 7, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Kevin Sutherland)

FILE PIC — JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 7: Top Billing Presenter Simba Mhere during an interview on June 7, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Kevin Sutherland)

Naidoo, 24, is currently on trial in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court for allegedly causing the fatal 2015 car accident that claimed the lives of Mhere and his friend Kady-Shay O’Bryan.

Naidoo faces two charges of culpable homicide. The crash involved three cars and happened on William Nicol Drive in Fourways, Johannesburg, on January 31, 2015.

During proceedings on Monday, state prosecutor Dinesh Nandkissor questioned accident reconstruction expert Stanley Bezuidenhout about whether he had consulted with Naidoo prior to conducting his report before it was finalised in February this year. Bezuidenhout said he met with Naidoo around December 2015, which was after he had already examined the vehicle.

Nandkissor argued the testimonies of Naidoo and Bezuidenhout were too similar and, furthermore, that his website stated his company aligned their investigation to that of their clients and their legal representatives.

Bezuidenhout’s site states: “We have never testified in a matter where we have been proven to be wrong, where our side has lost [civil or criminal] or where we were discredited as experts.”

Bezuidenhout agreed with Nandkissor, and said this was mentioned for marketing purposes. The statement was subsequently changed by the end of proceedings.

Nandkissor referred to a previous case where Bezuidenhout testified and the judgment by the magistrate in that matter, who said his findings were unreliable.

Bezuidenhout said he was unaware of the judgment and that the statement on his site was made about two years ago.

“How many of your matters did you go find out if your client was acquitted or found not guilty?” Nandkissor asked.

“They usually get back to me,” Bezuidenhout responded.

Defence advocate François Roets asked Bezuidenhout whether he had been manipulated into a conclusion of his report.

“I don’t tailor my findings,” said Bezuidenhout. “In our industry worldwide most knowledge comes from research and new findings.”

“You totally exclude speed?” magistrate David Mahango then asked.

“At the time of the collision, yes,” Bezuidenhout responded.

Mahango said the reason he was asking was because of the analysis of the speeds of the vehicles that were involved in the collision, and Mhere’s father, who was present in the vehicle, said their vehicle was travelling slowly when it approached the intersection.

Mahango said it was important to consider what speed Naidoo’s vehicle was travelling at prior to the collision, despite Bezuidenhout saying on impact the vehicle was traveling at 61km/h.

Both the defence and the state closed their case, and agreed on closing arguments being presented in 2018.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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