Uproar over ‘insensitive’ T-shirt

Kathryn Kimberley

WEARING a T-shirt with the words “Cleverly disguised as a responsible person” written on the front, Port Elizabeth murder accused Andre Gouws celebrated with family members yesterday after being released on bail.

Earlier, the court heard how Gouws, 27, had little recollection of crashing into a cyclist while allegedly driving drunk on Sunday.

Mill Park chartered accountant Clem Morris, 66, died at the scene.

Gouws faces charges of murder, driving under the influence and reckless and negligent driving.

It is alleged he was driving on the wrong side of Kragga Kamma Road when he smashed into Morris shortly after 8am on Sunday, killing him on impact.

According to the state, Gouws then attempted to flee the scene but was later arrested on the Old Seaview Road.

In an affidavit before the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court, read out in support of his bail application yesterday, Gouws said he remembered very little about the accident or the high-speed chase that followed.

His lawyer, Cecil Beyleveld, said Gouws was still in a state of shock and would seek psychiatric treatment once released from custody.

He said Gouws, a former school prefect with academic colours, wanted to apologise to Morris’s family.

In his affidavit, Gouws said: “I unconditionally apologise to the family and friends of the deceased for the tragic consequences, although I realise this will have little or no effect on the extreme trauma they have suffered and will continue to suffer in the future.

“I would also like to personally meet with the deceased’s family, but realise that during the grieving period it is not the right time to do so. I would, however, like to do it in due course, but will also understand if they do not wish to meet with me.”

Magistrate Gavin Juicy granted Gouws bail of R5000, coupled with house arrest. He must report to the Walmer police station once a week and may not leave his residence between 8pm and 6am.

Showing emotion for the first time, Gouws embraced his family.

He took off his tracksuit top to reveal the bright green T-shirt which poked fun at responsibility.

The public later shared their outrage on The Herald’s Facebook page, with some calling his wearing of the T-shirt insensitive.

Jehane le Grange wrote: “Arrogant and unremorseful comes to mind.”

Debbie Godfrey Papamichael said: “He hasn’t realised how serious this is.”

The state opposed bail for the web host technician from Walmer Downs.

Prosecutor Thanduxolo Memani said there were far too many people being killed by drunk drivers.

He said if Gouws was granted bail, his driver’s licence should be suspended and he should be banned from consuming alcohol.

This was dismissed by the court.

According to Beyleveld, Gouws was just 16 when he was first convicted of reckless and negligent driving. He had been caught driving without a licence and his father paid an admission of guilt fine.

He said this was, however, irrelevant to the bail application.

The court heard yesterday for the first time the dramatic details which led to Gouws’s arrest.

Investigating officer Chantal Joubert said when security officials caught up to him about 20km from the accident scene, a determined Gouws tried to flee on foot.

Gouws said he remembered very little from that morning, but could recall stopping somewhere on the way to his mother’s house in Beachview.

He said he intended to plead not guilty to the charge of murder as he did not have the necessary intent to take a life, but did not deny being the person involved in the accident which led to Morris’s death.

Beyleveld said Gouws would seek a professional psychiatric evaluation and he would then decide if it was necessary to undergo neurological testing.

The matter was postponed to December 7 for further investigation.

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