State closes case against taxi driver in Burry Stander trial

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Latest on the trial of the taxi driver accused of causing cycling icon Burry Stander’s death:

By Johan Pretorius

Prosecutor Christelle Rossouw closed the State’s case in the Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after magistrate Charmaine Barnard decided to grant the defence’s request not to use a video recording as evidence because of several deficiencies.

The State introduced the video of Burry Stander’s fateful last yards in Marine Drive, Shelly Beach, on 3 January 2013.

However, the magistrate allowed information sourced from a Garmin tracking device fitted to Stander’s bike, but indicated that she would still decide how much weight should be attached to the information gleaned from it.

Magistrate Barnard said she was satisfied with the veracity of expert opinion that information on the tracking device could not be accessed if it had been damaged or tampered with.

The information could only be altered once it had been extracted, but then it could still be compared with the original information on the device.

The defence attorney of taxi driver Njabulo Nyawose, who is accused of causing Stander’s death, attorney Xolile Ntsulana, argued on Thursday, as he did prerviously, that the State had not proved adequately that the device had not been tampered with.

He asked who took the device from the accident scene, who else had in in their possession, and at what stage.

Police officer R. Prinsloo told the court during a previous session that he had sourced the device at the Port Shepstone police station, and taken it to Durban to a Garmin technician, Mr. J. Smith. Smith previously told the court he could verify that the device had not been tampered with.

Nyawose’s defense maintains Stander was riding much faster than the evidence provided by the State. Therefore Nyawose could not see Stander approaching from the opposite direction because of this, and the fact that his vision had been obscured by an approaching car.

The State, however, maintains Nyawose recklessly flaunted the rules of the road, moved down the right of a row of stationery cars, and attempted to turn right into Stott Road, in the process crossing a solid white line, and causing Stander’s death when he hit the turning taxi.

The Defence will begin with its submission today.

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