The Durban man, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the deaths of two cyclists, intends appealing his sentence.
Omesh Ramnarain was found guilty on two charges of culpable homicide for the deaths of Richard Da Silva and Jared Dwyer.
Da Silva and Dwyer were part of a cycling group on the M4 Ruth First highway when they were struck by Ramnarain’s car in 2016.
The trial drew widespread support from Durban’s cycling community.
Handing down judgement last month, Magistrate Anand Maharaj called on motorists to obey rules of the road.
Ramnarain is now awaiting the verdict on his bail hearing as he intends appealing his 10-year sentence. His family, who say they are devastated at his incarceration, have put up a R10 000 reward for any information that might help his case. They believe state witness, Meryl Jarred’s testimony, that she saw two males fleeing on foot after the collision, is pivotal to proving Ramnarain’s innocence.
“It was only at the trial that it was revealed to us by the state witness that they had seen two men running away very fast from the accident scene. That put the puzzle together for us to understand where the rock came from. It was found in the vehicle and it was an investigating officer that took the photographs on the scene. When the state witness said she saw two men running past her very fast this tells us these were the guys that were actually responsible, the throwing of the rock that shattered the windscreen, that caused the accident,” says Ron Gopi, Ramnarian’s uncle.
Gopi says the family believes that the trial was unfair. “He’s not a guy who should be in prison for something like this. It’s an accident no matter which way you look at it. He’s not a criminal and for him to be serving a sentence with criminals over there that are actually murderers and everyone else, it doesn’t make us feel good at all,” says Gopi.
During the trial, Ramnarain claimed to have had four drinks during the evening. And, while witnesses said he had smelt of alcohol when he got out the vehicle, the blood test was taken outside of the legislated two-hour window period. So it could not be admitted as part of the evidence.
Kings Park Cycling Club captain, Richard Critchlow says club members are frustrated and disappointed that Ramnarain has decided to appeal his sentence.
“We’ll allow him to follow the law but we also feel that sometimes he’s got to man up and accept what he’s been charged with. And he’s guilty of it so he must man up sometimes… they were our team leaders. It will always take us back to that tragedy that day of losing those friends. We need to get past it and we can’t get past it with this case coming back to us all the time. We’d like to get past it so we can carry on for what we have passions with, the cycling,” says Critchlow.