Lack of evidence results in man being found not guilty

Judge hitting gavel

A man was given the benefit of the doubt and pronounced not guilty of all charges after an accident occurred in Watermeyer Street in 2016.

A 33-year-old man was arrested on January 2, 2016 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after he allegedly crashed his Volkswagen Golf into the rear of another car.

Police, who testified that they saw the vehicle driving recklessly and saw it crash into the other car, arrested the man and took him to Witbank Hospital to have his blood tested.

The man was taken for examination at 21:43 on the evening of the accident.
He admitted in his medical examination that he had consumed four 330ml bottles of light beer earlier that evening and had eaten lamb curry shortly after before heading out.

Shortly after the examination he was taken into custody and paid R1 000 bail.
He appeared before the Witbank Magistrates Court and chose to represent himself. The case was postponed to April 7 for further investigation and for the results of the blood-alcohol test.

On May 27, 2016 the case was transferred to C-court for trial and on June 1 the man applied for legal aid. In his appearance on November 21 the man pleaded not guilty to all charges which included driving under the influence of alcohol, the first alternative – excessive amount of alcohol in the blood, second alternative – reckless or negligent driving and third alternative – inconsiderate driving.

On February 27, 2017 the accused was found not guilty of the first alternative count.
In his last appearance before court on May 4, Magistrate Ernst du Plooy found the man not guilty of all charges after taking into consideration the evidence brought before court.

“There is a conflict between your evidence and your witness’ evidence and the state can not prove that you were the driver. The time in which to observe who was the driver, by police, was not substantial,” said Magistrate Du Plooy.

This he said after prosecution’s argument that the witnesses’ statements corroborated with one another and that the accused was said to have compensated the other driver for the damages to their car, yet denies being the driver of the car.

“You are entitled to the benefit of the doubt and you are found not guilty,” said Magistrate Du Plooy.

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  AUTHOR
Trevor Aingworth
JOURNALIST/PHOTOGRAPHER

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