Danger on the road gets community service

The car caused quite some damages near the former Tan tan supermarket.

On January 23, 2016, K.A.M. somehow lost control of his car on the A.Th. Illidge road in Dutch Quarter. He overtook a bus, lost control, crashed into a concrete barrier and came to a stop against a concrete bench where three men were sitting. Two of them sustained serious injuries to their ankles, a third man was treated on the spot by paramedics. Last week K.A.M., 24, was punished for the accident in the Court in First Instance with 50 hours of community service.

The public prosecutor had other plans for the young defendant: 150 hours of community service or 75 days in prison and a 2-month conditional revoking of his driver’s license.

The prosecutor acknowledged that K.A.M. had not had the intention to cause the accident, let alone injuring three people. But while the factor intention was not a part of the equation, the prosecutor found enough circumstances that add up to the defendant’s guilt.

According to witnesses K.A.M. was driving at high speed, though he told the court that he was not driving overly fast. “I don’t believe that,” the prosecutor said. K.A.M. pointed to the impact of the car on the concrete barrier that was found meters further down the road. “With 30 kilometers per hour it is not possible to cause such damages,” he noted.

The prosecutor also held it against K.A.M. that he had overtaken the bus on a spot that was not fit for overtaking and he said that the defendant had made the maneuver in an irresponsible way. “You turned your car into a loose cannon.”

Attorney Brenda Brooks said that she did not read in the dossier that her client had been driving too fast. “He was pushed off the road by the bus. That bus started driving slower and slower, that is why he overtook.”

Brooks observed that the scope of the damages “has nothing to do with the speed.” She also noted that there is no maximum speed indication on Illidge Road and she contested the seriousness of the injuries of one of the victims. “He was flown to Santo Domingo not for a fracture, but because of bad treatment in our beautiful hospital that caused an infection.”

The court ruled that, though there are indications in the dossier that the defendant drove to fast when he caused the accident, there is not enough evidence to substantiate that claim. “The investigation fell short; there has been no attempt to establish how fast you were driving. In cannot say for certain that you drove too fast.”

The court therefore acquitted K.A.M. of the primary charge of considerable guilt in causing grievous bodily harm.

The court furthermore noted that it has not been established that K.A.M. was not allowed to overtake at the spot where he did that.

However, the court found K.A.M. guilty of a misdemeanor: causing danger on a public road. “You drove at quite a speed and you caused the victims serious injuries. This is a misdemeanor, not a crime.”

The fact that the defendant has a full time job is no reason to forego a punishment with community service, the judge said. “If need be you have to take vacation days for it.”

In its ruling, the court considered that the defendant is under psychological treatment and that he is busy compensating the victims of the accident.

Hilbert Haar (Today)