South Africa 27.11.2013 06:00 am

Jogger murders judgment today

FILE PICTURE: Sibusiso Langa waits in the dock of the North Gauteng High Court on 21 November 2013 for the hearing to begin. He is on trial for killing five joggers by driving his car into them while drunk. Picture: Christine Vermooten

FILE PICTURE: Sibusiso Langa waits in the dock of the North Gauteng High Court on 21 November 2013 for the hearing to begin. He is on trial for killing five joggers by driving his car into them while drunk. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The mechanical engineer who allegedly mowed down a group of joggers in Midrand, killing five of them, two years ago will learn his fate today.

North Gauteng High Court Judge Bert Bam yesterday postponed the trial of Sibusiso Langa, 46, to today for judgment after hearing legal argument in the trial.

Langa pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering five joggers and attempting to murder another one in Lever Road early on the morning of October 22, 2011, when he ploughed into them in his Mercedes-Benz SL 500.

Langa claimed he was driving on the correct side of the road when he suddenly saw the joggers in front of him.

He said he had not slept the night before the accident because he was socialising with friends, but insisted he only had a glass of wine and two light beers.

Reneilwe Lesenyeho, Gaolojwe Tlale, Moroesi Mokoatsi, Given Miles and Nomvula Dumako died in the accident and Abegail Stengile sustained serious injuries to her leg. The group were training for the Soweto Marathon.

Prosecutor Mervyn Menigo asked the court to convict Langa on the murder, attempted murder and drunk driving charges.

He argued that Langa had been driving a powerful SUV at 108km/h in a 60km/h zone and had hit the joggers while driving on the wrong side of the road.

He said there was evidence Langa was under the influence of alcohol at the time and it was clear that he had lost control of his vehicle, since he chose to drive at a high speed on a road with a bend.

He argued that treating sober and drunk people differently violated the right to equality before the law.

The State did not discount the fact that intoxication diminished responsibility, but this could serve as grounds for mitigation of sentence and should not allow an accused to escape liability for crimes, he added.

Defence Counsel Richard Mkhabela, however, argued that Langa should be acquitted on all the charges, as the State had not proved the accident had taken place while Langa was on the wrong side of the road or that he was under the influence.

 

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