Trial of lawyer accused of driving death begins after two years

Keisha Chase

The trial of attorney Keisha Chase, who is accused of causing the death of a pedestrian, began yesterday, over two years since the fatal accident.

The charge against Chase states that on November 10th, 2015, on Duncan Street, Georgetown, she caused the death of Julian Leitch by dangerous driving.

Four persons, including an investigating rank and the mother of the deceased, took the stand after the trial began before Magistrate Allan Wilson in Georgetown.

Constable 21434 Kwesi Carmichael, stationed at the Kitty Police Station and attached to the Traffic Department, testified that he was on duty at the traffic inquiries office at the Kitty Police Station when he received information about an accident.

The rank noted that he went to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH), where he contacted a female, whom he identified as Chase and who gave him certain information about the accident. He noted that he accompanied the accused to the Accident and Emergency Unit at the hospital, where she pointed out an unconscious man lying on a bed, who had injuries to his head and about his body. She told him he was the pedestrian that she was involved in an accident with on Duncan Street.

Julian Leitch

Carmichael noted that the accused said she was the driver of a motor car, PRR 1881.

He said that he was later accompanied by her into the hospital compound, where he was shown a grey car with registration number PRR 1881, which had damage to the right side front windscreen.

Carmichael said he asked Chase to explain how the accident occurred and she related that she was proceeding south along Vlissingen Road in the car and turned east into Duncan Street when she suddenly saw the pedestrian walk into the centre of the road. Carmichael added that Chase related that she applied brakes to avoid the collision but nonetheless collided with the pedestrian, who fell on the road. She said she then stopped her car and picked up the pedestrian with the help of public-spirited citizens and took the pedestrian to the GPH.

Carmichael testified further to conducting a breathalyser test on the accused at the Kitty Police Station which showed there was no alcohol content in her breath.

He further said that after learning that Leitch had died, a notice of intent to prosecute was prepared by him in duplicate and the original was given to the accused.

On Wednesday, November 11th, 2015, at 8.30 am, Carmichael said, he was present at the Kitty Police Station, where a constable, Higgins, put an allegation to Chase and she remained silent.

Later that day, Carmichael noted that he went back to the scene of the accident on Duncan Street with Chase and asked her to show him where the accident occurred. According to the constable, the woman did not show him a point of impact.

He noted that he observed a red substance on the southern end of the parapet of Duncan Street, which appeared to be blood.  Measurements were then done based on his observations.

Carmichael’s testimony was eventually suspended until the next hearing, which is slated for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, earlier in the proceedings Pamela Leitch, the mother of the deceased, testified that on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at about 6pm, her son left to see the annual Diwali “light up,” which he would attend every year.

However, he did not return home as expected and she eventually called his phone to find out where he was and a man answered. It was then that she learnt that the person on the other end was an officer and that her son was in an accident and that she should go to the GPH.

Pamela stated that she called two of her children and went to the hospital, where she met Constable Carmichael, who informed her that Julian had died and that his body was in the mortuary.

After her testimony, she was cross-examined by one of Chase’s attorneys.

Her testimony was then followed by that of Inspector 15687 Timothy Reynolds, who is stationed at the Alberttown Police Station and attached to the Traffic Department.

Reynolds, who had been a sergeant in 2015, stated that on November 11th, 2015, at about 12.30 pm, he examined the defendant’s car, PRR 1881, in the compound of the Kitty Police Station. He noted that he then recorded the damage seen on the vehicle on a motor vehicle inspection defect sheet, which was prepared in duplicate.

The defect sheet was admitted into evidence and marked exhibit ‘A.’ According to the defect sheet, which was read by Reynolds, Chase’s vehicle had damage to the front windscreen, which was broken, and a slightly dented hood.

He was also cross-examined.

Constable 20277 Andre Higgins then testified to cautioning the defendant on November 11th, 2015 in the presence of Constable Carmichael. After being cautioned, he noted that the accused stated that she would remain silent, which he made a note of in the station diary. When asked to sign the entry, he noted that Chase refused.

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