Landmark jail sentence for driver who killed cyclist
Publish date: 09 October 2017
Issue Number: 746
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
Motorist Geoffrey Merrick was handed a three-year prison sentence for killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run in 2013 in what has been described as a landmark ruling, says a report on the IoL site. The Kuilsriver Magistrate’s Court also suspended Merrick’s driver’s licence for six months. In May 2013, Merrick crashed into Dr Koos Roux, who was cycling with his son. Merrick fled the scene. Police arrested him 10 days later when debris found on the scene matched his car. He was found guilty of culpable homicide as well as three Road Act infringements. ‘This is the first time a prison sentence has been handed down in a fatal hit-and-run incident involving a cyclist in SA,’ said Pedal Power Association chief executive officer Robert Vogel. In 2013, a law was promulgated in the Western Cape that makes it compulsory for motorists to overtake a cyclist with a minimum passing distance. ‘Cyclists feel ignored by the legal system when the laws protecting them are not applied, but this might change after this ground-breaking verdict,’ said Vogel. Merrick’s lawyer has appealed against the sentence.