The sentencing of a 26-year-old Steenberg man responsible for the hit-and-run that injured Fish Hoek resident Renford Brand was postponed again in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday September 18.
Vernito Jaeras was due to have been sentenced in May, but the case was postponed to June for pre-sentencing reports.
On Tuesday, Jaeras did not even make it to the dock, and Mr Brand was told by the prosecutor to come back on Tuesday October 16 without any explanation.
The Echo enquired about the reason for the postponement and was dismissed by the prosecutor who said: “Sit down and wait, I’m too busy and don’t have time for this now.”
Jaeras was arrested in March with the help of private investigator Advocate Hansie Linde, who was appointed by Mr Brand (“Hit-and-run suspect arrested,” Echo, March 15).
In April, he pleaded guilty to charges of reckless and negligent driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident.
Mr Brand was hit from behind in November last year while he was cycling near the quarry at Sunny Cove from Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town.
Mr Brand cycles with a prosthetic leg after he lost his leg in a previous hit-and-run incident on Ou Kaapseweg in 2010.
After the latest hit-and-run, he had to undergo surgery at the 2 Military Hospital as the accident caused a bad break of the femur below the hip joint in his stump, (“Hit-and-run cyclist on the mend,” Echo, November, 2017).
Earlier this year, he testified how the incident had affected his life and work as he had difficulty getting around after several medical complications with his stump afterwards.
He said he was very disappointed in the slow turn of the wheel of justice and the court’s lack of empathy for victims. He said he had not been told that the case was being postponed and he had been dismissed by the prosecutor when he had asked why. “This is just not acceptable. The least the court could have done was to notify me that the case is being postponed, as I have difficulty getting to court and back,” he said.
Pedal Power Association (PPA) CEO, Robert Vogel, said as there has been several postponements of sentencing there seems to be no compelling reason to finalise the case.
“We can only assume that incidents where cyclists are the victim, are not taken seriously by the criminal justice system.
“Here is an opportunity to finalise a case and clear the court roll, but instead the magistrate accepts one postponement after another.
“The driver has been found guilty. Why can he not receive
his just sentence and Mr Brand
get the closure he is seeking,” he said.