Homestretch driver on five counts of causing death

Jormin Jackson who is accused of causing the death of five persons in Monday’s  Homestretch Avenue accident was yesterday remanded to prison when he made his appearance before Magistrate Hazel Octive-Hamilton.

The allegation against Jackson is that on July 18 on Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown, he drove minibus BMM 9888 in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the death of Erica La Cruz, Crazel Paul, Junior Duncan, Peter McLennon and Coretta Benjamin.

Driver: Jormin Jackson

The 29-year-old who resides at 97 Section ‘A’ Sophia was not required to plead to the five counts of the indictable charges of causing death by dangerous driving when they were read to him at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

The defendant was expressionless throughout the hearing.

Attorney James Bond in a bail application advanced that his client is of sound character and there is a statement which indicates that Jackson was not speeding at the time but rather the accident was caused by a faulty tyre.

Bond requested also that the court should consider that the offences for which his client is charged are all bailable ones.

Junior Duncan

Making a case for bail, counsel said that Jackson has no antecedents, poses no risk of flight, has fixed addresses and has been cooperating with the police. Bond said that his client can be found either at 97 Section ‘A’ Sophia or at 97 Hopetown Village, West Coast Berbice; the village of his birth; and if needs be, Jackson would be willing to lodge his passport with the police.

The prosecution, however,  strongly objected to the bail application by the lawyer, contending that the court needed to consider the nature and gravity of the charges. It said too that “two more charges are likely to be laid.”

Peter McLennon

In its objections, the prosecution further argued that if granted bail there is a likelihood that the accused may flee as the police had no address recorded for him on their document form. The magistrate then reprimanded the police noting that they are obligated to perform their duties in collecting the defendant’s address.

The magistrate pointed out that this was not a case where the accused failed to provide his address to the police but rather the police did not perform their duty to take his address.

Crazel Paul

After listening to the submissions, the magistrate informed Jackson that he would be remanded to prison “because of the nature, gravity and seriousness of this epidemic in this society.” Magistrate Octive-Hamilton further asserted that “the courts have to send a strong message.”

Jackson’s matter was transferred to Court One for reports on September 9.

Benjamin, 39 of ‘B’ Field, Sophia; her daughter, Crazel Paul, 8; Peter McLennon, 29, of ‘B’ Field South Turkeyen; and Junior Duncan, 48, also of Sophia, died on Monday evening after the Route 48 minibus in which they were travelling turned turtle.

Coretta Benjamin

La Cruz, 18, succumbed the following morning after undergoing surgery in the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) for severe head injuries.

Ten other passengers were injured in the accident.

Police said the accident occurred when one of the minibus’s rear tyres blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Erica La Cruz

The lawmen said too that the minibus toppled several times along the roadway before coming to a halt several yards away at the side of the road. The bus had been carrying passengers to the Stabroek Market bus park.

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