Two motorists were each sentenced to four years in jail on Friday, after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
Wendell Harry and Mervin Massiah were sentenced at the conclusion of their trial by Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court 5
The men were before the court for the past two years after they were charged with causing the death of Tavel Gilbert by dangerous driving.
A letter was sent from Harry’s attorney to the magistrate seeking an adjournment on Friday because he could not be present in court but his request was denied and the matter went on without him.
Harry, a 51-year-old father of three, maintained that he was not driving dangerously. “It wasn’t my fault,” he said.
The magistrate, however, noted that having taking into consideration that he drove dangerously on the day of the accident and the car he was driving turned out of the wrong lane and collided with the motorcycle upon which Massiah and Gilbert were on, he would be sentenced to spend the next four years in jail.
Massiah, 25, of 3667 North Ruimveldt, was represented by attorney Glenn Hanoman, who told the court that the deceased was a very close friend of the accused and the accident also took a toll on him.
The court also heard from Hanoman that Massiah even gave all that he could have afforded to provide for Gilbert’s family financially although he was also badly injured. He further asked for the court not to impose a custodial sentence since it was an accident. He emphasised that his client had already suffered both physically and financially.
But the magistrate, having considered all the evidence given in court, also sentenced Massiah to four years imprisonment.
During the sentencing, family members of both men were seen crying.
Day of the accident
In a press release on the day of the accident, the police had said that it occurred at around 9:05 am. The driver of motor car PNN 7257 was proceeding along the roadway, police said, and it was alleged that the rider of motor cycle CG 4759 collided with the rear of the car as it was turning into an access street.
A resident, who operated a carwash a few metres from the accident, had told Stabroek News that he did not see what happened but heard the sound of the impact and looked around to see Gilbert lying next to a culvert at Pineapple Street. He said it appeared that the man had slammed his head into the culvert.
Gilbert’s mother, Donna Cole, broke down as she recalled the events leading up to the accident. “He took out his animals and then tell me he hear a man want people to clean drains and he going. I say, ‘That you going and do?’ And he say, ‘Mommy is honest work and is something to make a dollar’ and he left,” she said.
It was only minutes after she received a call from her son’s father saying that she should rush to the GPHC. When she got there she said she got a message that he had already died.
She explained that while she was not allowed to view the man’s corpse she ran behind the porters as they took him to the morgue and while he was being placed in the freezer she saw profuse bleeding from his head and that his face was swollen.
The family described Tavel as industrious, caring and one who loved caring for his animals which included cows, sheep and dogs, among others.