Omesh Ramnarain was freed on appeal on Friday when the Durban High Court overturned his conviction, for death of two cyclists on the M4 near Durban. File photo: Doctor Ngcobo/ANA
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 on Friday afternoon when aDurban High Court ruling 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 on Friday.

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

Judge Kate Pillay, who acquitted the accused, had earlier decried the police investigation being so badly handled it was “mind-boggling”.

“There was no expert accident reconstruction evidence and his blood alcohol level was not tested in the required time.

“It was handled with complete incompetence,” the judge said.

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.”

Independent On Saturday