OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON:
Ronald Pillay made his first appearance in Regional Court 4 on a charge of assault and intimidation. Pillay, who is serving a 7 year sentence for attempted murder, had been released on parole and had allegedly returned to the victim’s home and had assaulted and threatened her. He has 22 previous convictions on record. He was remanded in custody until his next appearance on October 19.
A 64 year old grandfather pleaded guilty to a charge of driving at a speed of 187 kph on the N2 northbound near Ellingham. In mitigation of sentence, he told the court that he and his wife had received a ‘phone call telling them that their two year old granddaughter had fallen into the swimming pool, and in a panic, he had driven home as fast as he could.
As a result of the shock, his wife had suffered an asthma attack. Prosecutor Cele stated that while the State sympathized with the accused’s situation on that day, there were emergency services that were able to deal with such incidents, and the accused, with no medical knowledge of his own, could not have been of any practical assistance.
Instead, he had placed his own life, the life of his wife and the lives of other motorists at risk, by his behaviour. Magistrate Mzila agreed with the State that the accused’s behaviour had been reckless and that the speed had been excessive.
She agreed not to impose the mandatory fine of R10 000 and reduced the fine to R8 000 or 8 months in prison, half of which was suspended for 5 years. Because of the accused’s ill-health and the ill-health of his wife, she agreed not to suspend his licence.
THEFT & ROBBERY:
• A 43 year old father of 2 was sent to prison for 3 months because he was unable to pay the fine imposed on him after he had pleaded guilty to charges of theft and defeating the ends of justice.
Magistrate Mzila stated that the court had to impose a sentence that would finally make an impact on him. His long list of previous convictions proved that he was a compulsive liar and thief, and that he was an embarrassment to his wife and children. She reminded him that as part of his last conviction, in 2012, he had been declared unfit to possess a firearm.
• A man who had been arrested on a charge of housebreaking, dating back to 2007, had the charge against him withdrawn, because the 84 year old complainant could no longer remember the details necessary for the prosecution to secure a conviction.
In the intervening years, the accused had been involved in a minibus taxi accident and had lost one of his legs. After his arrest, he had been released from custody on compassionate grounds and had promptly absconded, only to be re-arrested a short while later.
• A 27 year old Zimbabwean national pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of being in the country illegally. On September 17, the accused, who was employed as a truck driver by a Port Shepstone company, stopped his vehicle on the N2 southbound near the Selbourne golf course, and drained 250 litres of diesel from his truck, which he then sold to another truck driver for R2 000.
The total value of the stolen fuel was R4 900. On his arrest, it was found that he was not in possession of either a valid resident’s permit or a valid work permit. In mitigation of sentence, the accused stated that he had been trying, since his arrival in South Africa, to obtain a work permit, but that the agents who offered to apply for these documents charged such exhorbitant prices that he had run out of money.
To add to his financial woes, his girlfriend was expecting their first child, and needed specialised medical treatment.
Defence attorney Gharbaharan told the court that the accused had accepted that he was going to be deported, but asked that the court be lenient and give him a suspended sentence on the theft charge. He was duly fined R6 000 or 6 months in prison, wholly suspended for 5 years, and was removed to a deportation centre.