McBride wins appeal against drunk driving conviction

The high court in Pretoria on Thursday concluded he was not guilty on all charges. 

"The appeal against conviction on both counts is upheld," Judges Cynthia Pretorius and Lettie Molopa-Sethosa said in their written judgment.

"The appellant is found not guilty on all charges and is discharged."

McBride was arrested in 2006 after crashing his official car on the R511 following a Christmas party.

Earlier this month, the two judges reserved judgment in McBride's appeal against his conviction, as well as his five-year jail sentence.


In September 2011, a Pretoria regional magistrate sentenced McBride to two years imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol and an effective three years imprisonment for attempting to obstruct the course of justice.

Under the influence
Initially three of McBride's colleagues made statements supporting his version that he had not been drunk and did not leave the scene of the accident to evade justice. 

However, five months later they testified that he had been heavily under the influence of alcohol and systematically set about covering this up with their assistance.

In his appeal, McBride argued the three former colleagues had themselves been intimidated into changing their story. They were under investigation by the Organised Crime Unit (OCU) in a separate attempted murder matter and had been offered indemnity in exchange for statements against him.

McBride had previously clashed with the OCU. About a month before his colleagues changed their statements, he had written to the South African Police Service asking them to initiate an investigation into the possible involvement of some members of the OCU in cash-in-transit crimes.

In Thursday's judgment, Pretorius and Molopa-Sethosa wrote there was clear evidence that OCU members had manipulated the testimony of the three.

Describing the three as "self-confessed liars", the judges said the magistrate had erred in finding their testimony credible.

There were "several strange aspects" to McBride's behaviour after the accident, such as trying to get medical certificates from a variety of doctors and driving to Durban to see a doctor.

The state had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the judges concluded. "Although the appellant's action after the accident is suspect, it is not possible to draw the inference that the appellant was driving under the influence of intoxicating alcohol at the time beyond a reasonable doubt." – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

The biographies of Robert McBride and Dimitri Tsafendas share a curious resonance

Although the two men were from different generations, their lives both lay bare the atrocities of the apartheid state

Unfinished business: We need self-examination to heal from apartheid

Physical and psychological violence will continue unless we self-reflect on our apartheid scars

​The night McBride and friends blew up Magoo’s Bar

'Robert McBride: The Struggle Continues' is published by Tafelberg. This is an excerpt from the book

‘Ridiculous and irrational’ — McBride gears up to fight Mkhwebane’s Ipid report

The public protector’s report potentially erodes the police watchdog’s independence, McBride says

McBride to take on Public Protector over Ipid report

Mkhwebane signed off on a report stating that a former Ipid investigator’s complaint that his suspension for whistle-blowing was “substantiated”

Kgamanyane wasted no time restructuring Ipid in McBride’s absence

Israel Kgamanyane allegedly transferred, suspended or dismissed at least eight Ipid officials during his 18-month stint as the acting head of Ipid
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Fake trafficking news targets migrants

Exaggerated reports on social media of human trafficking syndicates snatching people in broad daylight legitimate xenophobia while deflecting from the real problems in society

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures...

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again

Trouble brewing for Kenya’s coffee growers

Kenyan farmers say theft of their crop is endemic – and they suspect collusion

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday