Cape Town - The driver whose two passengers were killed in a Waterfront crash in 2012 is set to plead guilty to charges of culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving.
Jacobus Austin appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court to report that his plea bargain application had been rejected by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Instead of negotiating his sentence, he will be at the mercy of the court when he pleads guilty.
Austin’s passengers were Georgina Moreland, 19, who was killed instantly, and Rohan Roodt, 22, who died in hospital of his injuries.
On Thursday, there was chaos outside the court as his family reacted violently to photographers, his father even throwing coffee at some of them.
Austin’s attorney, William Booth, said he hoped his client would receive a suspended sentence with correctional supervision, involving house arrest and community service.
But Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle, who came to court in support of the victims, said harsher sentences were needed in culpable homicide cases. “Without jail consequences the whole thing’s a farce. I don’t think people understand the extreme trauma attached to losing someone on the road.”
On December 9, 2012, at 2.40am, Georgina had been out partying with her girlfriends.
It had started at Tiger Tiger in Claremont, then moved to Dizzy’s in Camps Bay and on to Shimmy Beach Club at the Waterfront. Georgina and her friends were heading back to Dizzy’s when they split up, and she got into a car with cousins Austin and Roodt.
Austin lost control of his new BMW on Dock Road near the One&Only hotel. The tyres left black skidmarks on the tar, leading up to the tree that smashed the car to pieces. Georgina was flung on to the road.
Georgina’s family has battled to come to terms with her death. Mother Louise Raynor, a conveyancing attorney, takes the long way round to visit clients at the Waterfront to avoid the bend where her daughter died.
At home in Camps Bay, Georgina’s bedroom has been left untouched, while the lives of her mother and older sister Carla have changed completely. “Life is quiet now,” said Carla.
The family don’t plan on attending any of the hearings when Austin’s case returns to court on 8 April.
“I don’t believe the outcome will bring any closure,” said Louise. “There’s no closure when you’ve lost the love of your life.”