Photographer freed on causing death, DUI charges
Charges against photographer, Delano Williams who in June last reportedly caused the death of a
35-year-old truck driver, Sewcharran Persaud Ugraj, by driving his vehicle dangerously, were yesterday dismissed.
Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine- Beharry upheld a no case submission by the defendant’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes.
On June 28, 2011, Williams who resides at 260 Middle Street, North Cummingsburg, was charged for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and for reportedly driving motorcar PMM 1094 in such a manner that it was dangerous to the public. As a result of his actions Williams caused the death of Ugraj who resided at Lot 126 Mon Repos Pasture, East Coast Demerara, the police said.
Reports were that on the day in question, the accused had just left Buddy’s Night Club on Sheriff Street and was heading north. Williams lost control of his car which swerved into Ugraj who was standing on the eastern side of the roadway.
The deceased was reportedly hurled a few feet away from the point of impact and died. Williams and his car landed in the trench at the intersection of Pike and Sheriff Streets. A post mortem examination which was conducted one day after the tragedy revealed that Sewcharran had died from multiple injuries, broken leg, neck, skull and foot.
The prosecutor at that time, Vishnu Hunte, had said that Ugraj was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, and as a result, an investigation was carried out. Two breathalyzer tests were conducted on the accused.
The prosecutor continued that the initial test provided evidence that Williams had 139% blood alcohol content (BAC) and the other showed that he had 136% BAC in his system. The prosecution had objected to bail citing the seriousness and prevalence of the offence.
The prosecution’s application was however unsuccessful since bail was secured by Hughes who had argued in defense of his client that the seriousness of the offence was not a reason to oppose bail. He claimed that Williams was willing to surrender his passport should bail be granted and Williams was thus placed on $350,000 bail for the charge of dangerous driving causing death and $50,000 for the DUI charge.
Ever since Williams had been appearing in court, numerous dates had been given and witnesses in the matter kept failing to show up in court. Police witnesses it was understood had to produce themselves in the matter but had failed to do so.
Kaieteur News also understood that two preemptory dates were given for the prosecution to get their witnesses and produce them. However on yesterday’s date only three witnesses had taken the stand; some of them were the family of the deceased.
The dead man’s wife and father had taken to the stand. But their testimony was not enough to convict the accused. The prosecution was ordered to close its case since the matter had been dragging on for a while, taking up the much needed judicial time.
Subsequently, Hughes submitted that his client had no case to answer and the court agreed.
Williams then had both charges dismissed against him.
This revelation however, did not go well with the family of the deceased. Ugraj’s mother, Ramrattie Ugraj, burst into tears. While exiting the courtroom, the woman continuously yelled that she wanted justice. “Is this justice? What kind of court is this? I want justice for my son.”
The woman stood outside the court for some time venting her spleen while her relatives tried to pacify her. The Magistrate then had the woman returned to the court and offered an explanation for the decision.
Meanwhile, Williams and his relatives sat quietly on the court bench as the dead man’s family related their dissatisfaction towards the ruling. The Magistrate however informed the court that the ruling was based on what was presented to her by the prosecution and as the family sought to reveal to the court what they knew about the incident, the Magistrate had to inform them that the police had not presented certain information to her and she therefore could not cloud her judgment with information that she never received.
The mother was still not convinced. She grabbed her relatives saying, “Let’s leave this place we have no justice to get. He gon go out there and kill somebody else son.”
In a previous interview with Kaieteur News Mr. Ugraj, the dead man’s father had said that Williams’s family had offered a settlement of millions to end the matter, but no amount the father said, can compensate them for their loss.