The minibus driver who was allegedly behind the wheel of the bus that nearly swiped a pedestrian off the side walk when it overtook another vehicle on the wrong side has been remanded to Dodds pending trial after the traffic prosecutor argued that a strong message must be sent to persons who “show blatant disregard” for other road users.
Dacian Griffith, of Church Gap, Hillaby, St Andrew will return before the District ‘A’ Traffic Court on Thursday, January 30 when evidence will be given on four traffic offences stemming from the January 11 incident which was caught on camera and circulated on social media.
The trial date was set by Magistrate Graveney Bannister after the driver, who has been operating public service vehicles for six years, entered not guilty pleas to the charges that about 3:50 p.m. that Saturday being the driver of minibus B89 on Black Rock Main Road did drive and overtake other vehicles other than on the right side or off side of the road.
Griffith who has “over 90 traffic convictions” also denied driving the motor vehicle on a foot path; in a manner dangerous to the public; without due care and attention; and without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.
Urging the accused’s remand, Sergeant Kevin Forde pointed to the nature and seriousness of the charges saying that the alleged offence “attracted public outcry” and Griffith’s antecedents should be taken into consideration under the circumstances.
“The evidence will show that someone could have been seriously injured . . . overtaking on the wrong side of the road. It will show the blatant disregard for persons using the roads both motorists and pedestrians. From what I gather the pedestrian had to take rapid, evasive measures to prevent serious bodily harm,” prosecutor Forde submitted.
“A strong message should be sent to persons who show blatant disregard for other persons on the road,” the sergeant said. He told the court that while Griffith was not arrested at the scene, nor did he stop, police relied on video footage to verify the driver’s identity.
But arguing that her client was a candidate for bail, attorney-at-law Shadia Simpson questioned whether the submissions made by the prosecution were “opening remarks” to the case.
“The message which needs to be sent or not sent should come at the stage of sentencing,” the lawyer said as she went on to inform the court that Griffith was summoned to come before the court and had “presented himself… he is not likely to abscond as he has been here on a number of previous matters when required to do so.”
Addressing his numerous convictions, Simpson submitted “none are of a similar nature”. Her client, she also explained, was a single father of two children – a seven and one year old – for whom she said he had sole responsibly.
“I am asking that his personal circumstances be taken into consideration. He is also not working pending the outcome of this matter. I appeal and urge the court to grant him his pretrial liberty,” Simpson added. “What I can say at this time is the incident did not occur the way it may have appeared to have happened.”
However, Magistrate Bannister said the allegation was a serious matter which carried serious penalties on conviction. He also pointed to Griffith’s antecedents before remanding him until January 30.
The trial of the PSV driver is expected to begin at 9 a.m.
As the magistrate ruled on the remand a family member who was present in court stood up and immediately collapsed and was assisted by police officers. However, she was quickly back on her feet and walked out of the court unaided, moments after Griffith was escorted out in handcuffs by a police officer. [email protected]