Cape Town - Three years of correctional supervision and house arrest.
That’s the sentence Athlone Magistrate Heather Paulse imposed on Johan Crous, 33 – the man held responsible for the death of Lauren Devine, 24, on the M3 highway in August 2008. And, if he doesn’t comply with his sentence, he will be jailed for three years, the court warned.
Devine died when Crous’s car crashed into the guardrail separating the incoming and outgoing lanes of the highway.
A rock, or similar object, was dislodged during the crash and smashed through the windscreen of Devine’s car, striking her in the face. She sustained a 9cm head laceration and inhaled blood, before dying at the scene minutes later.
Crous and his wife Samantha had returned from watching a rugby match at Peddlers on the Bend in Constantia, where they each had two beers.
Crous was arrested on September 23, 2008 and charged with culpable homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol. In 2010 the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol was withdrawn and in July last year Crous was convicted of culpable homicide.
In passing sentence yesterday, Magistrate Paulse said no sentence would heal the Devine family’s wounds or the devastation to their lives.
She said it was clear from media reports and the factual position on Western Cape roads that, as a result of negligent acts, devastation occurred daily, if not hourly.
The court had to take that into account, she added.
Paulse also said the public expected that offenders be punished in such a manner that the sentence serve as a deterrent to others and so that effect was given to their demand for retribution.
Turning to Crous’s personal circumstances, she said he was a first offender who was gainfully employed and who had a young family and a mother who had supported him throughout the trial.
Referring to the defence’s submission that the court regard Crous as a fallen angel, Paulse said that, after looking at the evidence before her and his demeanour, she could not find anything to support such a submission.
“Instead, what I find is evidence of a remorseless man, who does not accept responsibility for his actions,” she said.
She also dismissed the defence’s argument that Crous was on the road to reform.
“How can anyone be on the road to reform if he does not accept responsibility?”
She sentenced him to 36 months of correctional supervision, which includes 24-hour house arrest and 16 hours a month of community service.
He is also not allowed to consume any alcohol or narcotics for the duration of his sentence.
The magistrate also told him that being under house arrest meant that he was not allowed outside his garden.
”This sentence may not be ameliorated,” she told him.
Crous must report on Monday to the commission of correctional services in Wynberg to start serving his sentence.
Crous’s attorney, Keith Gess, applied for leave to appeal against the conviction, but Paulse turned down the application. Gess later told Weekend Argus he had been instructed to petition the judge president of the Western Cape High Court for leave to appeal.