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SA Olympic MTB rider Burry Stander's family fear driver involved in fatal crash will never stand trial

Magistrate throws out case after prosecutors make fourth request for time extension

The family of Burry Stander, the South African cyclist who finished fifth in the mountain bike event at the London 2012 Olympics, fear that the taxi driver charged with culpable homicide following his death last January may never stand trial after a magistrate refused a request from prosecutors for more time to consider whether to prosecute.

Stander, aged 25, was killed instantly when he was struck by a taxi said to have been driven 24-year-old Njabulo Nyawose while returning home from a training ride in his home city of Port Elizabeth.

Prosecutors this week asked for three more weeks from magistrates to allow them to consider whether to press ahead with a case against Nyawose, reports South African news website, Independent Online.

The request was refused, with magistrate Piet Coetzee pointing out that it had already been postponed on three occasions.

The newspaper reports that prosecutors were unable to provide a satisfactory response when asked why they had already requested – and been granted – three postponements previously, and were now asking for a fourth.

Stander’s widow, Cherise, said: “The system is failing us, I don’t know what to do.

“From what I know the State has a strong case. It has been six months, they should have had enough time. I am very worried that the case will get thrown out.”

According to Independent Online, she had not been updated by prosecutors regarding how the case was progressing, and only heard about the latest developments in the case through the press.

“I thought about going, but to sit there and face the accused, I don’t know what I would do,” she commented.

“Someone must be held accountable for Burry’s death. It is not only about Burry, it is that an innocent life was taken and we expected a fair trial.”

Duane Stander, Burry’s brother, criticised the failure to bring a prosecution against the driver, saying: “People drive however they want on our roads. Someone lost their life and no one is being held responsible.

“Justice is not going to be served. It is disappointing and sad,” he added.

A spokeswoman for South Africa’s Director of Public Prosecutions explained: “A decision could not be made in the allocated time frame.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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