The Justice Project South Africa has welcomed the 20-year prison sentence handed down by a Durban Regional Court magistrate to a young man who caused an accident in which three people died.
The driver, 24-year-old Kriesen Moodley, faced three counts of culpable homicide, reckless driving and driving under the influence.
“This type of offence is dangerously frequent… the time has now arrived for courts to consider the imposition of exemplary and austere sentences to those who show willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road.
“We need sentences that can have the effect of changing the mindset of such drivers who become lethal weapons,” Magistrate Anand Maharaj said in passing sentence.
JPSA welcomed the verdict, but also praised the efforts of those involved in ensuring that the case was properly prosecuted and believed that as a result, an appeal against the conviction and sentencing would not be successful.
“The unacceptably high road carnage situation which plays itself out on South Africa’s roads on a daily basis most definitely needs to be addressed and at least part of the solution must necessarily lie in sending strong deterrent messages to those who seem to believe that killing people as a result of engaging in dangerous driving practices is a trivial affair,” Howard Dembovsky, JPSA national chairperson said.
“This case also has the effect of proving that there is no need to seek to dispose of a person’s constitutional rights ahead of their conviction, as has been repeatedly mooted by the RTMC and the Minister of Transport. All that is required is that cases are properly prosecuted and judicial officers are provided with sufficient evidence in order to convict guilty people and sentence them accordingly.
“Increased physical and visible law enforcement also has a vital role to play and would undoubtedly lead to a reduction in dangerous driving practices, and as a result, the needless losses of life and causing unnecessary suffering, which then necessitates “harsh sentences” arising out of the unlawful killing of people on our roads,” Dembovsky said.