Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Lance Corporal, Zamani Archibald, who is accused of causing the death of a pedal cyclist in an accident, gave an unsworn testimony when his trial continued yesterday before Principal Magistrate, Judy Latchman in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
It is alleged that on March 11, last, at Soesdyke Public Road, East Bank Demerara, Archibald, 24, of East Canje, Berbice, drove motor pick-up DFB 1566 in a manner dangerous to the public causing the death of Harry Persaud. The soldier who is being represented by Attorney-at-law, Leslie Sobers has been released on bail.
According to reports, on the day in question, Persaud, a pensioner of Lot 7 Public Road, Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara, was taking his one-year-old granddaughter for a ride on his pedal cycle along the East Bank Demerara Highway. Archibald who was driving a vehicle belonging to the GDF collided with them, hitting them off the bicycle.
Reports indicated that Persaud and his granddaughter were both picked up by Archibald and were taken to the East Bank Regional Hospital at Diamond, where Persaud was pronounced dead on arrival.
His granddaughter was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital where she was treated and sent away. During his testimony, Archibald recalled that on the day in question, he was preparing to travel to Timehri, East Bank Demerara. He said that at Soesdyke Public Road, East Bank Demerara, he saw a pedal cyclist turned out of a street and proceeded in the direction of Timehri.
According to the GDF Corporal, as he was about to approach the pedal cyclist who was riding on the left hand side of the road, the pedal cyclist made an attempt to cross the road. Archibald said that he sounded his horn and the pedal cyclist pulled back into the corner.
“When I almost passed him (the pedal cyclist) he made a dash out to come back on the road. When he made the dash out, I was almost up under him.” The defendant said that although he swerved the vehicle that he was driving, the pedal cyclist still ended up colliding with the side of his fender.
“At the time there was no traffic on the road. I came out of the vehicle and saw a man and a little girl lying on the road.” He said that he and some of his colleagues rushed both of them to the hospital. The soldier said that about 30 minutes after, his superior informed him that the man had died.
Archibald added that police ranks escorted him to the Madewini Police Outpost. He said that the police also took photographs of the vehicle that he was driving and the pedal cycle.
The police, Archibald said, also took a statement from him and the other soldiers.
Archibald told the court that police requested of him to go back to the area where the accident had happened to identify the point of impact. However, Archibald said that he told police that the “accident happened so fast” and he could not remember the exact spot where the collision occurred.
Nevertheless, Archibald said that he spent 72 hours in police custody, and three months on close arrest.
Earlier in the trial, Police Corporal, Winston Singh testified, “I cautioned him (Archibald) in accordance to the judge’s rule…He (Archibald) replied that the man (Persaud) swerved into my path and I blow my horn on him (Persaud). The man swerved again and I hit him down.”
Corporal Singh told the court that the soldier refused to give a written statement and he made an entry to that effect in the station diary.
Balwatt Persaud, the son of the deceased, told the court that on March 15, he visited the Georgetown Public Hospital Mortuary where he identified the body of his father.
Guided by Police Prosecutor, Vishnu Hunt, the witness recounted that he identified the body to Government Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh. He said that his father’s remains were cremated on the West Coast of Demerara.
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