NEGLIGENCE WHAT CONSTITUTES

S v DE JAGER AND OTHERS 2016 (2) SACR 716 (ECG)

 

Culpable homicide — Negligence — What constitutes — Child dying when brick wall collapsed after crowd stormed out of pavilion when accused threw bottles — Reasonable man would not have foreseen that death would result as consequence of bottle-throwing.

 

The appellants were convicted in a regional magistrates’ court of culpable homicide. It was proved that they had thrown bottles at the supporters of a rival rugby club during a match, causing people on the stands to flee to an exit where the pressure caused by the throng resulted in a brick wall collapsing onto a child, who died as a result of his injuries. On appeal against the conviction, it was contended that the court a quo erred in finding that the appellants should have foreseen that the wall would collapse and kill the deceased.

Held, that, although a reasonable man could have foreseen that the throwing of bottles at spectators would cause them to flee and that they would, in search of safety, run towards the exit points of the pavilion, there was no way that a reasonable man in the shoes of the appellants could or should have foreseen that, as a result of the pressure from the fleeing throngs, the brick wall would collapse and fall on top of the deceased. In the circumstances the conviction had to be set aside.

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