July 12, 2019 / 9:01 AM / 3 months ago

South African court finds Zuma's son not guilty over car crash death

FILE PHOTO: Duduzane Zuma, the son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, appears at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African court on Friday found Duduzane Zuma, son of former president Jacob Zuma, not guilty of culpable homicide and negligent driving over a fatal car crash, saying prosecutors had failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Duduzane Zuma’s Porsche sports car collided with a minibus taxi on a highway in Johannesburg in February 2014, killing a woman and injuring at least one other.

Zuma, who said he lost control of the car after a puddle caused him to aquaplane, initially avoided prosecution after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided not to charge him.

The NPA reversed its decision last year after a rights group threatened to prosecute Zuma privately.

“I accept the defense argument that none of the evidence presented established that there was anything that a reasonable man in the position of the accused on that night would have foreseen,” the judge at the Johannesburg court said.

“The state failed to prove the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.

Duduzane attended the court hearing with his father. He had pleaded not guilty.

Jacob Zuma told state broadcaster SABC he was pleased by the ruling. Duduzane Zuma declined to answer questions from a SABC reporter.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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