Tuesday 23 April, 2019

Causing girlfriend's death should not go unpunished, argues Prosecutor

Three years ago, a tragic motorcycle accident resulted in the death of a young man’s girlfriend.

And although some may agree living through such a traumatic experience is punishment enough, “the law still has a role to play”. 

This was the strong stance of a prosecutor today as he addressed the court in the case of Kemar Rico Jordan. 

“We get in our circles and we talk about fatal accidents that cause the death of our children and loved ones and believe that we should not pursue these matters in courts simply because a person is already grieving from the loss of a loved one [but] the law must be maintained,” Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale said. 

Jordan, 26, of No. 1 Chapel Gap, Paynes Bay, St James was charged that on April 3, 2015 he caused the death of Adrianna Sobers by driving a motorcycle on Black Rock road at a speed and in a manner dangerous to the public. 

However, on November 17, 2017 he pleaded guilty to the count of dangerous driving after having been indicted for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving. 

Jordan was the driver of the motorcycle while Sobers was the pillion driver. As he rode along Black Rock road, a bus was moving off from a bus stop and another bus approaching in the other lane.

Jordan attempted to overtake the bus but was caught between the two. As Seale explained “traffic conditions were becoming perilous to the extent that the space for overtaking was becoming more and more narrow”.

The motorcycle handle bar collided with the oncoming bus and both riders fell. Sobers lost her life. 

During submissions from Jordan’s lawyer, Arthur Holder said Jordan had experienced a “deep psychological scar that will pose a great difficulty to overcome – a punishment that he will have to live with the rest of his life”. 

Seale addressed the notion that the loss of a loved one was punishment enough for the person causing the death. 

He said whenever a relative is involved in an incident which causes the death of another relative, it is said “that we must have a heart”. However, he said it was also about recognising there was a departure from a required standard and responsibility must be accepted. 

“But one can’t say that because one has caused the death of a relative, they have suffered sufficiently and that should be it. The law still has a role to play and that is the reason for the Road Traffic Act, to cater to these things and to ensure that people drive at a reasonably high standards on our roads.

“This is a classic example of a person who has lost a loved one but can we say ‘cuh dear’ he has suffered enough, he has injuries himself and has caused the death of his girlfriend so he has been sufficiently punished? No, because that is the moral aspect of it; this is the legal aspect that we must deal with and not withstanding that we sympathise in the moral realm the legal realm still has to play its part.” 

The prosecutor admonished persons who find themselves in such a situation to take good counsel, throw themselves at the  mercy of the court and mitigate. 

Holder shared numerous mitigating factors on his client’s behalf. 

He emphasised Jordan’s lengthy contribution to the tourism sector as a jet ski and speed boat operator, his early guilty plea, lack of criminal convictions and remorse. 

“He wishes he could return a life that has been lost but that has to be done elsewhere by a power superior to himself.” 

He asked the court to consider section 82 (1) of the Road Traffic Act and impose a fine as “the threshold for a custodial sentence has not been reached based on mitigating factors.” 

Though both Holder and Seale agreed the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating ones, Seale spoke strongly on the latter. 

He addressed the degree of “aggressive” driving in the case. 

“When one is in charge of a vehicle one is in charge of a dangerous weapon basically, just as if he had a firearm, and that is why licenses are required for both…To get a firearm you have to show your proficiency in use of it, similarly, you have a driver’s license to prove your proficiency in what ordinarily would be a lethal weapon so you have to drive properly on the road and this is a case of clear departure from that standard required.” 

The matter was adjourned until July 12. 

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