Defence says prison ‘too harsh’ for driver who killed Simba

The legal team of the driver who was found guilty of culpable homicide says if incarcerated the driver will become a burden to the state and a statistic.

The defence in the trial against Preshalin Naidoo, who killed Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere in a car crash, said incarceration would be harsh punishment for his offence.

“If he is incarcerated, he will become a burden to the state and a statistic. A term of incarceration will be ineffective and destroy Naidoo,” defence advocate François Roets told the Randburg Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Mhere and his friend Kady-Shay O’Bryan were killed in an accident involving three cars, which happened on William Nicol Drive in Fourways, Johannesburg, on January 31, 2015. The court heard that before the accident Naidoo, 27, was driving at more than 200 kilometres per hour.

He was found guilty of two counts of culpable homicide in January.

Roets said the case was a tragedy as Mhere and O’Bryan were loved and their deaths had huge impacts on their friends and families.

“There’s nothing I can submit that can bring them back to life however I submit that the court must consider a balanced sentence.”

Roets said the court had to ensure that justice was done and not to seek revenge.

He pleaded that correctional supervision was not a slap in the wrist, but a severe sentence imposed on Naidoo.

“One thing is clear and that is that Mr Naidoo poses no threat or danger to the members of the public.”

“Why remove someone who is economically impactful from society.”

Roets said if Naidoo were to be sentenced to correctional supervision, he would be able to serve the community through community service.

Roets listed a number of things that he said showed Naidoo had also suffered for his actions, which included having to repair the damaged vehicles, media attention, hateful statements and not being able to apologise to the families of the victims.

“What will the court achieve by sentencing the accused [Naidoo] to even six months’ imprisonment ? I submit that a term of imprisonment should not be imposed.”

Roets said the only suitable sentence was correctional supervision, suspended sentence of five years on condition that he pays R1 500 a month for the next five years.

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