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Judge Dismisses Appeal By Jailed Truck Driver

Judge Dismisses Appeal By Jailed Truck Driver
July 22
10:51 2018

A driver who was jailed for causing the death of another  person while driving a truck has had his appeal against conviction and sentence dismissed by the High Court in Suva.

Vidya Prasad appeared on appeal before Justice Vinsent Perera after being sentenced to 27 months in jail on February 13, 2018.

He had been charged with dangerous driving occasioning death.

The particulars of the offence was that on July 1, 2014, in Nausori, Prasad drove a motor vehicle on Sawani, Serea Road, Waibau, in a manner which was dangerous to the public having regard to all the circumstances of the case thereby causing the death of Jone Soronakadavu.

After he was sentenced, Prasad was also disqualified from driving for four years from the date of sentence.

He filed an appeal and the grounds were:

  • The trial magistrate erred in law and convicting the appellant on the charge of causing death by dangerous driving,
  • The trial magistrate erred in law and convicted the accused when no evidence was adduced by the prosecution in relation to the speed zone of the area where the accident took place or was over speeding.
  • The trial magistrate erred in law and did not consider the fact that the victim ran across the road from in front of a parked bus thus obscuring the vision of the appellant
  • The trial magistrate failed to uphold the defence’s submission that the appellant was not driving in a dangerous manner

Justice Perera told the court that the appellant, who was driving a truck, was following a school bus and had overtaken that bus when it stopped at a bus stop.

“That was the part of the road where the appellant had to cut across in order to overtake. Moreover, there was a left bend in front where the right lane would not be clearly visible when there is a vehicle in front,” Justice Perera said.

He said therefore the evidence in the case suggested that the appellant had violated the road rules when he overtook the bus, and it was not an appropriate place anyway to overtake a vehicle given the left bend in front.

“It was open for the magistrate to come to the conclusion that the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was traveling at a speed dangerous to the public at the material time.

“The counsel for the appellant failed to demonstrate how the sentence could be regarded as harsh and excessive or that it is wrong in principle as alleged in the ground of appeal against the sentence.

“The appeal against the sentence also fails. I dismiss this appeal and affirm the impugned judgement and the sentence,” Justice Perera said.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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