The court heard that the man convicted for the death of Top Billing presenter, Simba Mhere and his friend, Kady-Shay O’bryan is not really remorseful.
This is according to a pre-sentencing report compiled by a social worker in private practice, Eliza Cilliers. The report was made at the request of the defence.
In January, the Randburg Magistrates’ Court found Preshalin Naidoo guilty on two counts of culpable homicide. In his judgement, regional Magistrate David Mahongo said Naidoo recklessly caused the death of Mhere and O’bryan.
On 19 April, sentencing proceedings kicked off in the Randburg Magistrates’ Court before Mahongo. Cilliers was the first witness to testify in mitigation of sentence.
According to the report compiled by her, Naidoo still denies that he was negligent when the accident that claimed the lives of two people occurred. The social worker, however, pointed out that Naidoo accepts that he was the driver of the vehicle that caused the deaths.
Cilliers highlighted that Naidoo’s view shows that he is not 100 per cent remorseful. The social worker said that even after being found guilty by the court, Naidoo still maintains that the deaths were not his fault.
Cilliers recommended to the court that Naidoo is sentenced to correctional supervision. This, according to her, will allow Naidoo to continue contributing to the economy of the country. Naidoo is currently employed as a special project manager for a prominent company.
Cilliers said the court can order that Naidoo contribute financially to O’byran’s little girl who only three when her mother died. The social worker said Naidoo can be ordered to contribute between R1 500 and R2 000 monthly towards the child.
Prominent in the social worker’s report was the word negligent but at the end of her report, defence Advocate Francois Roets made her aware that Naidoo was actually found guilty for recklessly causing the deaths and not negligent.
Roets asked her that in light of this new information (reckless vs negligent), would she still stand by her sentence recommendation. Cilliers immediately responded by saying that she would change it, perhaps to direct imprisonment.
After a few moments, she changed her mind and said she would stand by the correctional supervision recommendation.
Cilliers told the court that her recommendation is based on the personal character of Naidoo. She described him as a humble, dedicated and respectful young man who would cooperate with authorities if sentenced to correctional supervision.
Cilliers told the court that during her investigation, she also spoke to families of the deceased.
She said Mhere’s father, Joseph, recommended that Naidoo is sentenced to a short direct imprisonment; while Simba’s mother, Angela said no sentence will bring back their son. Angela said she was robbed of her son and future grandchildren, adding that his death was very painful.
She also said to Cilliers that Naidoo hadn’t planned to kill her son, and he, himself, is still a young person with a life ahead of him. Mhere’s mom also recommended that Naidoo provide some financial assistance to O’byran’s minor child.
O’byran’s mother recommended that the sentence is one that will send out a strong message.
Cilliers said O’byran’s mother expressed disappointment and shock at how Naidoo never made an effort to apologise, explain or pass condolences on to the bereaved families.
Cilliers, however, said Naidoo had told her that the police had stopped him and his family from making contact with families.
What Happened That Fateful Day
The man who allegedly caused the accident which claimed the life of Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere and his friend has claimed he fell asleep behind the wheel, the Randburg Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.
Mamokete Laka, who was in one of the three cars involved in the accident, told the court that Preshalin Naidoo apologised repeatedly.
“He kept saying I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Then he said he fell asleep,” she said.
Laka said, while her family was confronting Naidoo, he smelt like alcohol on the morning of the accident, on 31 January last year.
“He smelled like he had been drinking. I told my mother that ‘o nwele (he’s been drinking)’,” Laka said.
Laka had been travelling with her mother and two brothers on William Nicol Drive in Johannesburg around 05:00 on the day. They were driving back to their home in Mabopane from a church service in Randburg.
She told the court she was asleep and was woken by her brother shouting, “What is this man doing?”, before hearing two bangs. Naidoo hit a white car in front of him. The Lakas were driving behind Naidoo and his car landed on their bonnet.
After the collision, the family got out of the car. Laka said she saw a woman running towards Naidoo’s car, which was lying on its side, and kicking the sunroof, so Naidoo could get out.
Once he emerged they asked him why he had lost control of his car.
“We kept asking him over and over again.”
When asked whether she confronted Naidoo about her suspicions that he had been drinking, Laka said she did not.
She said she did not mention smelling alcohol to the police officers at the scene or staff at the hospital where she was taken later. She said she had intended to put it in her statement when police came to her home later that week.
Mhere, 26, and his friend Kady-Shay O’Bryan, 29, died in the collision. Mhere’s father Joseph survived. O’Bryan had a three-year-old daughter.
Mhere rose to fame when he won a presenter search competition in 2010, landing him a job on the lifestyle television programme.
Source: Northcliff/Melville Times