Hit-and-run accused awaits fate

Members of the Recyclers club for retired cyclists supported Renford Brand at court. From left, are, Neil Potgieter, Liz Heydra from Pedal Power Association, Chris Schutte, Norman Skinner, Renford Brand, Derek de Hutton and Angus Hemp.

A 26-year-old Steenberg man who is responsible for the hit-and-run in which Renford Brand, 76, was seriously injured last year will not be given jail time.

Magistrate Crystal McKenna said she did not think jail time was a suitable sentence for Vernito Jaeras, who pleaded guilty in April to charges of reckless and negligent driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident after he crashed into Mr Brand.

Mr Jaeras hit Mr Brand from behind with his vehicle on Sunday November 5 near the quarry at Sunny Cove en route from Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town (“Cyclist in hit-and-run for second time,” Echo November 9 2017).

He failed to stop at the scene of the crash or to report it.

He was later arrested with the help of private investigator, Advocate Hansie Linde, who was appointed by Mr Brand (“Hit-and-run suspect arrested,” Echo March 15).

He appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday June 15.

Following the crash, Mr Brand had pins placed in his right leg that had previously been amputated at the knee after he was involved in another hit-and-run on Ou Kaapse Weg in 2010.

In a brief testimony, Mr Brand told the court that he continued to suffer from complications after the accident such as constant infections in his stump, which made it impossible for him to wear his prosthetic leg.

As a result of walking on crutches, he said, his “good knee” was taking severe strain and had started giving problems.

Besides his medical complications,
he said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder which placed himself and his family under severe emotional pressure .

Since the accident, his business had taken strain and he was unable to cycle, a sport which he loved to participate in before the accident.

He told the court that he did not want compensation but wanted to see justice done.

“This affects all cyclists, not just me. We can ride safely and follow the rules of the road, but we cannot protect ourselves against reckless drivers,” he said.

When asked by Magistrate McKenna what sentence he deemed appropriate, he replied: “The maximum sentence.”

She said that would imply imprisonment and she did not deem it a suitable sentence.

He suggested community service working with disabled people.

The case was postponed to Thursday June 28 for pre sentencing reports and
to allow the court to have Mr Jaeras
evaluated for possible correctional supervision.