“Your father caused the accident” – Defence Advocate insists collision on Dippenaar’s side of the road

“Your father caused the accident” – Defence Advocate insists collision on Dippenaar’s side of the road

Antonia Joschko, the key-witness in the Dippenaar murder trial spent more than five hours on the witness stand on Wednesday and Thursday under a gruelling cross-examination by Jandré Dippenaar’s defense, Advocate Louis Botes. Dippenaar is among other charges accused of having caused the deaths of six people in a vehicle accident on the Swakopmund-Henties Bay road on 29 December 2014.

Joschko is the sole survivor of her family, after her father, mother and sister died when their vehicle and that of Dippenaar’s was involved in a head-on collision. Three people in Dippenaar’s vehicle also died.
After leaving the witness stand the case was postponed for continuation of trial in November this year.
During the cross-examination on Thursday Advocate Louis Botes told Joschko that she “fabricated” her version of events and did in fact not see what happened in the split seconds of the collision.
“Having regard to the real evidence we will argue that you are fabricating your story for two reasons: Firstly, you want to exonerate your father for his wrongdoings and secondly you did not observe what happened that day”, Botes said.
Joschko stood by her story and said that “I am telling you what I saw that day.”
Dippenaar is accused of having overtaken several vehicles at high speed in his FJ Cruiser on a blind crest, ploughing into the Joschko vehicle, a white Ford Ranger double cab. Of the four occupants in the Ford Ranger, only Antonia Joschko survived. She lost her father Walter Helmut Joschko, mother Stephanie Schermuck-Joschko and sister Alexandra Marlene Joschko (19). She was 16 years old at the time.
After Joschko gave evidence on Wednesday, the trial resumed with a gruelling cross-examination of the witness on Thursday. During the cross-examination Magistrate Gaynor Poulton paused the trial numerous times to give the witness a break. Joschko was emotional and broke down in tears several times during cross-examination.
“Our instructions are that the area of impact was on the left-hand lane (from south to north) and had your father kept to his lane, this accident would not have occurred,” Botes explained in his cross examination. Joschko replied: “your assumptions are wrong.”
Advocate Botes continued: “your version of events does not tie in with the physical evidence.” Joschko maintained that she did not take her eyes off the road and that she never lost consciousness after the collision – thereby witnessing the entire incident.
Dippenaar, as the driver and sole survivor of the FJ Cruiser, lost consciousness and – according to his plea explanation which was handed in during the start of the trial – has no recollection of what transpired shortly before the accident up until the moment he woke up in hospital. The victims of the FJ Cruiser who died were J.C. Horn, Dinah Pretorius and Charlene Schoombee.
According to Botes there is evidence that the point of impact was on the left-hand side of the road, indicating that Joschko’s father caused the collision and was in the “wrong lane”. Botes also differed that the accident did not occur on a blind crest. He showed various photographs of the terrain to support his view. “If this horrific accident occurred on a hill, the investigating officer would have mentioned it in his report,” he said.
Joschko maintained though that whilst the family was travelling towards Swakopmund she remembers them travelling over a small hill when suddenly a white car appeared in the windscreen – in their lane – and less than a second later the collision occurred. “But photos indicate that the accident occurred on the wrong lane”, Botes said to Joschko repeated to the witness several times.
“That is not true,” Joschko replied.
Botes also asked Joschko several times to indicate the distance between the two vehicles from the moment she first saw the FJ Cruiser and before the collision occurred. Joschko replied she cannot estimate that, “as everything happened so fast”.
Whilst Botes accused Joschko of fabricating her story, and that her father caused the accident, Joschko merely replied: “I know he was driving on the left-hand side. Tt was important for me to make that clear from the start, because I knew it would be easy for people to blame my father, because in Germany we drive on the right hand side.”
After Thursday’s cross-examination the matter was postponed until 21 November 2017. The trial will resume with the state calling more witnesses to testify. Dippenaar is represented by Petrie Theron and Advocate Botes. The prosecution is led by State Prosecutrix Faith Chipepera-Nyaungwa.