Dippenaar crash survivor grilled

Witness accused of fabricating story

17 July 2017 | Crime

The evidence in chief delivered in the Swakopmund Regional Court last week by the survivor of an accident, which claimed the lives of six people, came under heavy fire on Thursday during the defence's cross-examination.

Advocate Louis Botes, who is representing the accused, Jandré Dippenaar, questioned the witness, Antonia (Toni) Klara Joschko repeatedly about her version of the events, which transpired on 29 December 2014, the day of the accident.

Joschko testified last week Wednesday that she was traveling with her father, Walter Helmut (48), mother, Stephanie Dorothea Schemick (49), and her older sister Alexandra (19), to Swakopmund from Cape Cross when the accident occurred.

“On our way to Swakopmund, I was speaking to my sister who was sitting on the back passenger seat with me. I was sitting behind my father who was driving and my mother was sitting in the front passenger seat. As we were driving up a small hill a big white vehicle suddenly appeared right in front of our car,” she said.

Her father, she told the court, had no time to react to avoid a collision as the accused's vehicle was too close and was travelling at a very high speed.

When questioned about discrepancies between her testimony, her statement to the police and other evidence before the court relating to which side of the road they were traveling on, Joschko said she was sure her father was driving in the correct lane.

“It was important for me to make that clear from the start, because I knew it would have been easy for people to blame my father for the accident because we are from Germany where we drive on the other side of the road,” she said.

Botes further questioned the witness about her testimony that she did not see the approaching vehicle of the accused until it was right in front of their vehicle.

“I put it to you that the reason you did not see the vehicle is because you were not looking at the road and if this horrific accident occurred on a hill the investigating officer would have mentioned it in his report,” Botes insisted.

He also submitted photographs to the court depicting the accident scene.

“These photographs indicate that there is no hill in the vicinity of the accident scene,” he said.

Joschko responded by saying that the photographs only show one perspective of the road and that she was sure that the hill would be visible on other photographs.

Botes, however, stated that her evidence does not correspond at all to what happened.

“I am sure that an expert must explain the marks not me, and every witness will have his own perspective and yesterday and today I explained mine,” she answered.

In his closing statement, Botes further lambasted the 19-year-old's evidence, claiming it was not adding up to other statements.

“Having regard to the real evidence we will argue that you are fabricating your story for two reasons. One, you want to exonerate your father for his wrongdoings. Two, you did not fully observe what happened that day. Or perhaps it is for a little bit of both these reasons,” he said.

It is alleged that the accused, Jandré Dippenaar, was in the process of overtaking another vehicle when he smashed into the Joschko's oncoming vehicle.

The vehicle which Dippenaar was driving burst into flames while the passengers were still trapped in the vehicle.

The other victims and the accused's passengers, were Dinah Pretorius (30), Charlene Schoombe (24) and J C Horn (27).

Dippenaar faces six charges of murder, reckless and negligent driving, fraud and non-possession of a valid driver's licence.

After Botes concluded his cross-examination and magistrate Gaynor Poulton postponed the case to 21 November for continuation of trial.



JESSICA BOTES

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