Finding driver guilty of murder is the right message - Times LIVE
   
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Finding driver guilty of murder is the right message

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-12-13 00:14:40.0
Jacob Humphreys, the taxi driver who was found guilty of the deaths of 10 pupils.
Image by: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

The Times Editorial: The National Prosecuting Authority's tough stand against criminally dangerous drivers - charging the worst offenders with murder when they recklessly kill innocent road users - will no doubt act as a powerful deterrent.

The threat of a murder conviction will surely convince even the most brazen road hog to think twice before endangering the lives of others.

Yesterday's landmark ruling in the Western Cape High Court, which convicted taxi driver Jacob Humphreys on 10 charges of murder and four of attempted murder, is a case in point.

The horrific collision - which resulted in the deaths of 10 pupils Humphreys was taking to school when a train hit his minibus at a level crossing after he bypassed a boom - made national headlines, as did the trial.

Delivering his judgment yesterday, Judge Robert Henney said he could not think of a better example of a driver having been able to foresee the consequences of his actions - Humphreys stopped at the crossing, overtook several cars and ignored safety signals before driving onto the tracks.

The National Prosecuting Authority has also charged musician Molemo ''Jub Jub'' Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala with murder over the deaths of four pupils during an alleged drag race.

Motorist Sibusiso Langa faces murder charges for killing five joggers while allegedly driving under the influence.

Whether the state can get convictions in each instance is debatable - the intention to kill is difficult to prove in such cases.

Nevertheless, the publicity generated by these high-profile trials can only be good in a country where lawlessness on the roads has become something of a national pastime.

Ultimately, though, motorists will drop their dangerous driving habits only when there is a reasonable certainty that they will be caught and will face tough sanctions.

And that means better law enforcement.

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