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 has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.