The man who was found guilty of causing the death of 12 persons back in 2010 and was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in jail on each of the 12 charges, a total of 108 years in jail, has filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Chaitram Moonsammy, 48, a truck driver of Black Bush Polder, Corentyne, Berbice, through his counsel, Attorney-at-law Mursalene Bacchus, is citing a number of grounds for his appeal.
Moonsammy was on trial before Justice Brassington Reynolds and a mixed jury in the Berbice High Court. He was convicted on May 3, last, on the 12 charges of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
Included in his grounds for appeal are that the verdict is unreasonable. Inadmissible evidence pre-judicial to a fair trial was wrongly admitted. The trial judge erred in law in rejecting the “no case” submissions presented to the court.
He is further contending that the trial judge erred in law in refusing to stay the indictment. A statement taken by the police, unfavourable to the defence was not made available until the start of the trial. That witness was not called by the prosecution at the Preliminary Inquiry or at the trial.
Mr. Bacchus on behalf of his client is contending that the summing up was unbalanced in favour of the prosecution.
He is also stating that there was a non-direction, which amounted to a misdirection in that the trial judge omitted to tell the jury that if the Defence left them in a state of uncertainty then the verdict would have to be one of not guilty.
Moonsammy was found guilty for allegedly driving motor lorry GLL 8863 in a manner dangerous to the public on October 29, 2010 along the Susannah Village Public Road, East Coast Berbice thus colliding with minibus BHH 1842 and causing the death of; Oudit Narine Babulall, Marques Ault, Nazaradin Mahinudin, Salmaa Razac, Orlando De Mattos, Janet Baker, Cindy Jaggernauth, Lalita Mendonza, Patricia Asgerally, Josiah Khan, Salima Juman–Dinmohamed and Chetram Ramphal.
In his defence, he had said that the accident and the death of the persons were not his fault.
A total of 24 witnesses were called to the stand by state Prosecutor, Tuanna Hardy. They had stated that the weather was not satisfactory with the wet roads from the heavy downpour.
Government Pathologist Nehaul Singh, who carried out the post mortem on the victims, had testified that the injuries sustained were consistent with a motor vehicle accident.
Bacchus had put forward strenuous arguments in defence of his client. He had requested that his client be given a non-custodial sentence since he had waited eight years for a trial.
Before handing down the sentence, Justice Reynolds had affirmed that a message must be sent and road users should be protected.
On the day of the accident, it was a gory mess with body parts strewn about inside the twisted metal that remained of the bus. Bodies were all over the road.
Moonsammy had fled the scene after the accident but was later apprehended.
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