Magistrate tells drunk driver: 'Pray over your bereavement'

PEOPLE must deal with bereavement in a responsible manner, a magistrate said yesterday in a case involving a father of three who took to alcohol to cope with his wife's death.

Magistrate Natalie Diop fined Garrick Chong, 58, of Embacadere, San Fernando, $4,000 for driving under the influence. He appeared before her in the San Fernando magistrates’ court and pleaded guilty that on Friday night he was driving a vehicle on Cipero Street and was stopped by police.

A breathalyser test was administered which revealed the alcohol content in Chong’s breath was 69 microgrammes per 100 milligrammes of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Diop reminded Chong that in 2014, he was fined $4,000 for failing to subject himself to a breathalyser test while driving.

“You are now back before the court for a similar offence,” Diop said.

Attorney Subhas Panday told Diop that three months ago, Chong’s wife died and he had been coping with the grief. As a single parent of three daughters, it has been an uphill battle for him. All hs daughters are at school, the attorney added.

“My lady, when your wife leaves you through death is worse than if she walks out on you. It’s a different kind of pain to go through.

"On Friday he suffered a bout of depression and he couldn’t stand the grief. He took to the bottle and asked the officer to give him a chance,” Panday said.

Diop fined Chong $4,000 and granted him two months to pay, but told him he needed to find a sober way to deal with his grief.

“The court sympathises with your loss," she said. "Pray and don’t come back on a next occasion with the same excuse.”


"Magistrate tells drunk driver: ‘Pray over your bereavement’"

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