About-turn in case of man accused of killing cyclists
THERE was chaos outside a Durban courtroom on Friday after Omesh Ramnarain, who is accused of knocking down and killing two cyclists on the Ruth First freeway (M4 northern freeway) last February, pleaded not guilty.
Ramnarain, 33, had earlier indicated his intention to plead guilty.
He instead fired his legal team and stated he wanted the matter to proceed to trial.
Ramnarain is facing charges of culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving and driving while under the influence of alcohol.
His new legal representative, Murray Pitman, requested the matter be adjourned to early October for the accused to sort out his personal affairs.
An unimpressed magistrate Anand Maharaj postponed the trial, which was scheduled to begin on Friday, and accepted his plea of not guilty.
He said the matter had already been adjourned twice before and warned that the case would proceed next month whether Ramnarain was ready or not.
The families of cyclists Richard da Silva, 46, and Jared Dwyer, 36, who died at the scene of the accident, stormed out of the courtroom.
During a previous appearance, Da Silva’s mother and Dwyer’s father had hugged a then remorseful-looking Ramnarain, saying they had forgiven him.
But after changing his plea, the cyclists, friends and family shouted that the accused was “playing games” and that he was a “coward”.
A tearful Sonya Ferreira, Da Silva’s partner, said the family had been preparing to hear the judgment and sentence.
“He (Ramnarain) had come across as deeply remorseful throughout the previous proceedings, but today he showed us it was all just an act. We lost our loved ones. All we wanted was closure and now we have to come back to court. This is not fair.”
Ramnarain asked that police escort him out of court. His family declined to comment.
The matter was adjourned to next month, when it will be decided if the case will proceed to trial in December.
Omesh Ramnarain (centre), accused of killing two cyclists, outside the court with his newly appointed legal team, Reg Thomas and Murray Pitman.
Chaos erupted outside the courtroom as the accused’s family and those of the deceased got into an argument.