Man or­dered to pay $1000 each to ac­ci­dent plain­tiffs

Fiji Sun - - Nation - FONUA TALEI Edited by Epineri Vula Feed­back: fonua.talei@fi­jisun.com.fj

ALabasa man was or­dered by the Labasa High Court to pay $1000 each as costs to plain­tiffs in­volved in a car ac­ci­dent on De­cem­ber 31, 2014 at Lo­ma­loma on the Seaqaqa/Savusavu high­way.

The plain­tiffs; Jone Sokia, Rakesh Ku­mar Lal, Surya Deo, Pe­naia Tuidravu and In­dar Vir Ku­mar in­sti­tuted pro­ceed­ings claim­ing dam­ages for the in­juries caused to them due to the neg­li­gent driv­ing of Mo­hammed Ja­mal.

The truck was hired by the Min­istry of In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port of which the five men were em­ploy­ees.

When the mat­ter went to hear­ing the men filed a no­tice of dis­con­tin­u­ance to dis­con­tinue pro­ceed­ings against the Min­istry and the At­tor­ney Gen­eral (pur­suant to State Pro­ceed­ings Act 1951) af­ter the Min­istry agreed to pay them com­pen­sa­tion. Ac­cord­ingly, pro­ceed­ings went on against Ja­mal to de­ter­mine whether the ac­ci­dent was due to his neg­li­gence.

Dur­ing trial three of the pas­sen­gers told the Court that while they were trav­el­ling the truck sud­denly went zigzag­ging and top­pled.

In cross-ex­am­i­na­tion Ja­mal’s lawyer sub­mit­ted that the plain­tiff ’s ev­i­dence was that the truck went off the road be­cause of the speed but in their Po­lice state­ments they did not men­tion any­thing about speed.

Jus­tice Ly­one Senevi­ratne said in his judg­ment that driv­ing a ve­hi­cle neg­li­gently was not the only way a driver can be neg­li­gent.

“A per­son who drives a ve­hi­cle on the road with me­chan­i­cal de­fects can­not be said to have any re­spect for the lives of the peo­ple who use the road and the pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling in his own ve­hi­cle,” Jus­tice Senevi­ratne said.

“Driv­ing a ve­hi­cle which is not road wor­thy is also an act of neg­li­gence on the part of the driver.”

In his ev­i­dence Ja­mal stated that be­fore the ac­ci­dent he ap­plied the brakes to change the gear but the brakes did not work then he ap­plied the hand brakes but that also failed to work.

He tes­ti­fied fur­ther that to avoid the ac­ci­dent he drove the ve­hi­cle to his right side but it went off the road and top­pled.

It was also Ja­mal’s ev­i­dence that ev­ery two weeks he used to check the ve­hi­cle and ev­ery year he used to get the ve­hi­cle tested.

When he was asked in cross ex­am­i­na­tion whether he had any re­ceipts to show that he ser­viced the ve­hi­cle and got it tested he an­swered in the neg­a­tive.

A Land Trans­port Author­ity re­port re­vealed that the brake was in­op­er­a­tive and there were brake fluid leak­ages on the wheels which in­di­cated that the brake washer was de­fec­tive or worn out.

The re­port fur­ther stated that the cause of the ac­ci­dent was the brake sys­tem.

The Court ruled that the ac­ci­dent was due to Ja­mal’s neg­li­gence who was li­able in dam­ages.

Driv­ing a ve­hi­cle which is not road wor­thy is also an act of neg­li­gence on the part of the driver Ly­one Senevi­ratne High Court Judge Jus­tice In cross-ex­am­i­na­tion Ja­mal’s lawyer sub­mit­ted that the plain­tiff’s ev­i­dence was that the truck went off the road be­cause of the speed but in their Po­lice state­ments they did not men­tion any­thing about speed

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