Driver on self bail for injuring cop who shot at bus
A route 45 minibus driver who reportedly tried to avoid being taken into police custody on Friday last was yesterday placed on self bail after he allegedly injured a policeman who shot at the bus he was driving.
Thirty-one year-old Mark Atkinson of Kaikan Street, North Ruimveldt, was charged with the offence of wanton driving when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.
The police said that on May 18, in Georgetown, the defendant while in charge of a motor vehicle caused bodily harm to Michael Rambarran, a general duty rank posted at one of the police’s mobile patrol units.
Atkinson pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was released on his own recognizance when the prosecutor did not object to bail. The matter has been transferred to Court Seven – the traffic court.
Kaieteur News understands that the charge against Atkinson stems from an incident that occurred at the corner of Main and Church Streets, where the said rank had shot out the rear window and front wheel of the minibus.
Reports are that on the day of the incident, at around 16:00 hrs, police intercepted a minibus whose driver had committed a traffic infringement. The conductor of that bus had told Kaieteur News that the police ordered the driver to empty the bus which he did, but sought to use a preferred course en route to Eve Leary, CID Headquarters, where he had been ordered to take the vehicle.
The conductor said that the driver insisted on driving up Main Street so that he could drop off two cousins at a restaurant. The policeman reportedly used his motorcycle on two occasions to prevent the driver from proceeding on that route. The second time, the driver evaded the policeman’s blockade and drove away. The cop reportedly got a gun from his colleague and opened fire on the vehicle, shattering the rear window and flattening the front right side wheel, the conductor claimed.
Reports from the police, however, differed slightly from that of the conductor. They agreed that the driver broke a traffic law and followed the policeman’s first order to empty the bus, but Atkinson, they said, refused to use the route instructed by the police. They further admitted that the bus’ path was obstructed, but stated that it was only after the driver had wound up the vehicle windows, refusing to talk to the ranks or adhere to instructions. The driver, they alleged, moved his vehicle closer and closer to the rank, and it struck him several times, injuring him in the process. It is alleged that Atkinson then drove around the police and his motorcycle in a bid to flee the scene, and the police rank opened fire on the vehicle.
It is also alleged that four persons were in the bus at the time.
Atkinson faced one charge at the Magistrates’ Court, but it is believed that he will have to answer to other traffic offences stemming from the incident.