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Man walks free

Timoci Vula
Friday, January 25, 2013

ONLY a day after Lautoka lawyer Iqbal Khan won his case allowing seven police officers charged with theft to return to their families, yesterday he won another with his client walking out of the Nadi Magistrates Court a free man.

Mr Khan's client Zahid Nabi who was charged with dangerous driving had stood trial to answer to allegations that on July 20 in 2008, he drove a motor vehicle registration number DQ561 on the Nadi Back Rd in a manner which was dangerous to the public, having regards to all circumstances of the case, and caused the death of one Wilson Rigamoto and a Mohammed Hafiz.

Resident Magistrate Mohammed Ajmeer said the prosecution must prove the four elements for the charge, that Mr Nabi drove his vehicle in a dangerous manner and caused the death of the two men.

He said it was for the court to determine whether there was sufficient evidence in respect of each element of the offence to put the accused to his defence.

In his analysis, Mr Ajmeer said while defence counsel Iqbal Khan and his client did not dispute that Mr Nabi did drive his vehicle on the day, there was a dispute with regards to driving it dangerously.

Noting that prosecution immensely relied on PW1's (Prosecution Witness 1) evidence, the court noted that the same witness had made previous inconsistent statements.

"The prosecution does not produce the rough sketch plan or the fair sketch plan to assist the court. The sketch plan is vital to the prosecution case. This document may assist the court in determining the force of impact, the position of vehicles after the accident and the authenticity of witnesses," Mr Ajmeer said.

"The prosecution witnesses stated nothing about the force of impact and the position of vehicles after the accident," he said.

"Therefore, in my opinion, no reasonable tribunal would convict the accused on the evidence led by the prosecution," he added.

In his judgement, Mr Ajmeer said there was insufficient evidence in respect of the important element of the offence that Zahid Nabi was driving in a dangerous manner on the day.

"I dismiss the charge and acquit the accused forthwith from the charge of dangerous driving occasioning deaths," he said.





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