Rosa da Silva, left, the mother of Richard da Silva, and Lee Dwyer, the mother of Jared Dwyer, outside court last month. Omesh Ramnarain who was driving the car that hit their sons while they were cycling on the M4, was cleared on appeal yesterday. Picture: Duncan Guy
Durban - Sonya Ferreira, the partner of Richard da Silva, who was killed with fellow cyclist Jared Dwyer on the M4 three-and-a-half years ago, was lost for words after yesterday’s High Court ruling that allowed Omesh Ramnarain to walk free.

He had appealed against a 10-year sentence delivered to him after a trial that first saw him plead guilty, apologise to the families, then change his plea to not guilty.

“It’s a travesty,” said Ferreira. “How can one court give 10 years and then things change through twisted lies?”

Ferreira said there was weak prosecution in the case from the word go.

“We did a detailed accident report back then.”

She said the report had been filled with information that could have made a difference, but the original prosecutor who handled it - one of a string involved in the case - had not made use of it.

She said it was frustrating that the families of victims did not have any say over who acted as prosecutor, unlike people in the dock, who could choose their defence lawyers.

Ferreira also raised the fact that blood tests had not been done in time to prove the claim that Ramnarain was driving drunk.

She said that while she wished him no ill, she wished he would take responsibility for his actions.

Ferreira added that the tragedy would never leave her.

“It’s part of my life story,” she said. “But I would prefer not to wake up with hate and bitterness.”

She and Da Silva would have been together for 28 years yesterday.

“We were soulmates and the family was very close.”

Judges Kate Pillay and Muzikawukhelwana Ncube cleared him on both of culpable homicide.

In the judgment, they accepted Ramnarain's version of events that morning as reasonably true.

"The appellant was the only witness who could testify about the actual collision and on his version, there is nothing to suggest that his conduct deviated from what the reasonable driver would have done in the circumstances in which he found himself. It is regrettable that the state was unable to produce more cogent/ scientific evidence on exactly how the collusion occurred. This had the consequence that this case had to be determined largely on the version of the appellant," they wrote.

In her judgment, Pillay said: “It is sad that two innocent lives were lost that fateful morning. Such loss caused enduring pain to families, relatives and friends. However, the law requires that each case be decided on its own facts.”

The Independent on Saturday