Accused pleads guilty after death of engaged couple

A drunk driver has pleaded guilty of culpable homicide nearly five years after he caused the deadly crash which killed a newly engaged couple. The matter was enrolled last year, only after the involvement from AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. Andrew Kagiso Malele pleaded guilty to the charges in the Pretoria Regional Court today.

On 23 December 2017 Malele crashed his car into the vehicle in which Ruan Coen (26) and Jessika Kennedy (25) were driving. The couple had got engaged just three weeks earlier.

Ursula Kors, Coen’s mother, approached AfriForum after the docket allegedly disappeared from the Silverton police station. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit worked closely with col. Werner Everson from the Silverton detective branch and sgt. Piet Ferreira from the Sinoville detective branch to recompile the docket so that the accused can be prosecuted.

Coen and Kennedy were returning to Pretoria from White River along the N4. Malele was driving in the opposite direction, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the couple’s car. Both were killed outright. Malele sustained only minor injuries and, according to eyewitnesses, he joked with police members who were at the scene.

In an emotional meeting before proceedings started, Malele apologised to Kors for killing the young couple and causing pain and anguish to their loved ones. But Kors says justice must still run its course.

“We are very grateful for the guilty plea. We are so grateful for the effort that Advocate Nel and AfriForum have put in to reconstructing the docket that went missing. There’s a sincere gratitude that at least we can find closure. Even though we have forgiven what has happened, I firmly believe that justice has to be served and that one has to answer for the choices you have made in life. The impact of losing two young people has had a ripple effect on many lives.”

Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, also says that justice must prevail.

“Although we now know that the accused pleaded guilty this morning, we are of the view that he had no other option, that there was a very strong case against him. But we are very glad that he pleaded guilty and the process of sentence can now unfold. The traumatic meeting we had this morning assisted Ursula, the mother, to get closure in the matter. But we are all adamant that the sentence process should continue and that the accused should get a just sentence for the trauma that he caused.”

Malele’s bail was extended. The matter was postponed until 7 July 2022 for a probation officer report and victim impact study.

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