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Friday 24 November 2017
Crime and Court

9 months jail for drunk driver

A 25-year-old man has been jailed for nine months for his third offence for driving under the influence of alcohol.

He was also disqualified permanently from driving by magistrate Natalie Diop in the San Fernando Magistrates’ court on Tuesday when he came up for sentencing for the DUI offence.

Matthew Raghunanan, who is from Hermitage Village near San Fernando, pleaded guilty on August 23 to the charge.

Court prosecutor Sgt Kassieram Lutchman told Diop that the man was driving along the SS Erin Road when police officers had cause to respond to a road traffic accident.

The magistrate was told that when a breath sample was taken from the defendant, who was the driver of one of the vehicles, it gave a reading of 54 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

Lutchman also told Diop that the defendant was also charged with driving without due care and attention and he had pleaded guilty to that offence as well. The charges were laid by PC Burton.

When the defendant had appeared then, he had asked Diop for an opportunity to attend Arrive Alive classes and it was granted.

Lutchman told Diop that in 2014, the defendant was charged with a DUI offence and he had pleaded not guilty. The police complainant in the matter died and as a result the case was dismissed. However, the prosecutor told the magistrate that in 2015 and 2016, the defendant was convicted and fined $4,000 and $5,000 respectively for the similar offence of driving under the influence.

In passing sentence, Diop admonished the man for his irresponsible behaviour and noted that he now has three convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol. She said that the court had no choice but to impose a custodial sentence and permanently disqualify him from driving.

On the charge of driving without due care, the defendant was ordered to pay $400. Diop commended Burton for his keen sense of observation and dedication to duty.

In the same court, Diop fined a 35-year-old man $8,000 after he also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. He was also disqualified from driving for 24 months. It was on September 10 at about 2.45 am when PC Sujeet Ramcharan who was on a road block exercise, Diop heard from Lutchman, saw when the driver of a vehicle breached a ‘No Right Turn’ traffic sign by speeding from Rushworth Street onto Cipero Street.

The prosecutor said that the driver almost collided with another vehicle. A breathalyser test was done which revealed that he had an alcohol content 49 microgrammes.

He was also charged with dangerous driving and breach of a traffic sign.

Diop ordered him to pay $3,000 forthwith on the DUI charge or serve six months in jail.

In addition to disqualifying him, she fined him $1,000 or 30 days in jail for breach of the traffic sign and $3,000 for dangerous driving.

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