Kriesen Moodley, 26, of Chatsworth, appealed against convictions and sentences imposed by a Durban Regional Court in September 2017.
He was sentenced to 15 years for three counts of culpable homicide, three years for driving under the influence of liquor, and two for reckless or negligent driving.
Moodley was arrested and charged following the deaths of Delon Gurriah, Koveshan Pillay and Denalin Naicker.
After that decision, Pillay’s father, Morgan, said: “We find the sentence unjust but that is our justice system. While it won’t bring back our son, our wish is for him (Moodley) to spend time inside.”
He said there was “still too much sadness in our lives. We still feel hurt and are in pain up until now and are trying to cope under difficult circumstances”.
In 2015, the friends had been returning home after having supper in Florida Road, Durban, when the BMW driven by Moodley collided with their Toyota Yaris on Link Road near Shallcross.
Post-mortem reports revealed that the men died of blunt force injuries.
Two other passengers, Deon Naidoo and Deon Bujram, who were seated in the rear of Toyota, survived.
Moodley had served eight months in prison before he was released on bail pending his appeal.
During the trial, the court had heard that Moodley had been observing his Saturday religious fast, which meant he did not consume meat or drink alcohol.
However, two police witnesses, Constables Phiri and Mbozana, who were on patrol and arrived at the accident scene, testified that Moodley was still in the driver’s seat and that they suspected he might have been under the influence of alcohol.
Mbozana said she had accompanied him to the hospital after an ambulance was dispatched. She said she was present when a blood sample was drawn, sealed and placed in the evidence kit.
However, the charge office commander, Warrant Officer S Govender, had testified that when he opened the sealed kit Mbozana had given him, it did not contain a blood sample.
He was unable to say how this could have happened.
In his judgment in the Pieter maritzburg High Court, Judge J Van Zyl said: “As a result, there was no blood sample to analyse and no proof that there had been any alcohol in the system of the appellant at the relevant time.”
In dealing with the culpable homicide convictions, Judge Van Zyl said in his view the magistrate could not be faulted for rejecting the evidence of Moodley and in finding that the State had established Moodley’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“In the end, the magistrate was left to deal with the factual evidence of Mr (Fred) Snodgrass (the police investigating officer), coupled with his reasoned interpretation of the road markings, position of and damage to vehicles and his conclusion that the point of impact was as indicated, namely within the lane of travel of the Yaris.”
In handing down judgement, Judge Van Zyl said: “The deceased were also all men in the prime of their lives.
“Their deaths inevitably caused heartbreak, financial distress, a sense of loss, and left a vacuum in the lives of their families.”
He dismissed Moodley’s appeals against three culpable homicide convictions.
He upheld the appeals against convictions for driving under the influence and reckless or negligent driving, and ordered that verdicts of not guilty and discharged be substituted on each count.
He further set aside the sentenced imposed by the magistrate, sentencing Moodley to an effective six years.