Charged earlier this year after months on the run, Jamaul John was yesterday sentenced to 50 months in jail for causing the death of pedal cyclist Desmond Grandsoult.
John, 25, who was on trial before Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman, was found guilty of driving minibus BTT 8476 in a manner dangerous to the public on December 18th, 2017, at Vlissengen Road,, thereby causing the death of Desmond Grandsoult.
Following the death of Grandsoult, John had been on the run. A wanted bulletin was issued for the accused and he was later arrested on March 26th, 2018. John, who was represented by attorney Melvin Duke, claimed in an unsworn statement that he left the scene of the accident because he felt threatened by the crowd that had gathered.
Delivering her ruling yesterday, Magistrate Latchman said John was guilty of driving below the standard of a careful and competent driver.
Prior to the sentencing, Police Prosecutor Shawn Gonsalves presented closing arguments to the court. The prosecutor urged the court to find the accused guilty of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving, while noting that John admitted to being the driver of BTT 8476 at the time of the collision and also in an oral statement.He further relied on evidence presented by varying witnesses throughout the trial.
Subsequently, Magis-trate Latchman told the court that the prosecution was tasked with proving beyond a reasonable doubt that John’s driving fell way below the standard of a careful driver and resulted in the death of Grandsoult.
In an attempt to prove this, Magistrate Latchman stated, the prosecutor called nine witnesses, including two passengers of the bus. The magistrate later noted that she believed the defendant was driving at a fast rate since one of the passengers testified that she asked the conductor what was wrong with the driver as he was driving as though he was on a race track.
Magistrate Latchman stated that if the defendant were paying attention, he would not have hit the accused and it was his inattentiveness to the road that caused him to collide with the back wheel of the cycle. The court found that the John drove at a fast rate of speed and failed to exercise care, caution, courtesy and common sense of a careful driver. In explaining her sentence, Magistrate Latchman stated that she took into consideration the fact that John failed to render assistance to the deceased, failed to report the accident, drove at a fast rate and the need to promote road safety.
Grandsoult, 42, who resided at Lot 1710 Dedication Place, South Ruimveldt Park, Georgetown, was a father of three.