|43 motorists fined $138,500 for Easter drunk driving |
By AZARD ALI Wednesday, April 23 2014
POLICE officers have a keen sense of smell, owing to the 43 driving under the influence of alcohol cases in which all the offenders were detected by the strong alcohol odour on their breath. The total fines imposed on them netted a total of $138,500 for the Treasury.
Magistrate Rehanna Hosein suspended three of them from driving for a period of three years because they had been previously so convicted and fined.
In each and every one of the 43 cases which were heard in the San Fernando Traffic Court from 9 am to 3.30 pm yesterday, excluding the lunch-break, the court police prosecutor, Sgt Harricharan Dianath, had told the magistrate that police officers were able to apprehend the drivers after their breath smelt of alcohol.
The courtroom was packed and the corridors of the court did not have room to accommodate the drivers, who were issued summones to appear in court after they were stopped in several roadblocks in and around San Fernando during the four-day Easter holiday weekend.
Ag Sgt Vijay Ramdhanie and PC Ganga Persad Sookai of the San Fernando Police Station, in conjunction with the Highway Patrol Unit of the southern division, conducted several roadblocks along the SS Erin Road, leading to Debe, and the M2 Wing Road, leading to Cross Crossing, San Fernando.
Rajesh Manick was slapped with the highest fine of $9,000. His permit was also taken away from him by Hosein, thereby disqualifying him from driving for the next three years. Manick had a previous conviction in August last year for driving under the influence.
The prosecutor, Dianath, said that on Saturday at about midnight, police officers stopped his car and detected a strong smell of alcohol emanating from his breath. He gave a reading of 63 microgrammes. In August, Manick was fined $3,700 for the same offence. He explained to the magistrate that he had consumed some beers at a birthday celebration for his grandmother. He was ordered to pay the fine by May 23, or serve three years in jail.
A schoolteacher, Neil Lakhan, was fined $8,000 and disqualified for three years because he had been fined previously for driving under the influence. A police officer stopped Lakhan along the South Trunk Road, Dianath told Hosein, and detected he was drunk due to the strong odour which emanated from his breath.
With each of the other 41 drivers, among them one woman, police officers suspicions were alerted by the strong smell of alcohol in the respective driversí breath.
Nevin Kehishywan was fined a total of $12,500 for driving under the influence, driving dangerously, and failing to obey the lawful instruction of PC Sookai. Steve Lutchmedial, whose reading was 108 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, was fined $10,000 and disqualified for three years from driving, because he was fined last year by a magistrate for the same offence.
Eleven persons were placed on bonds for the same offence, because the readings of microgrammes of alcohol per millilitres of breath, were minimal.