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Vere Bird III found guilty of death by driving


by Brian ‘Peco’ Jordan – St. John’s Antigua

Vere Bird III, son of political icon, Vere Bird Jr. and grandson of the late prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Vere Bird Sr., was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving when his trial concluded in the High Court, in Antigua and Barbuda’s capital, St. John’s on Monday January 30.

The 34-year-old attorney was indicted following a fatal traffic accident on All Saints Road, on September 18, 2004.{{more}}

The crash, which occurred some time before 1 am, resulted in the death of two female passengers, who were the only other occupants of the Kia Optima car which was being driven by Bird.

The victims Alicia Periera (20) and her adopted sister Halima Khayum (21), all natives of Guyana, died at the scene of the accident.

The car which was traveling west on All Saints Road into the city, reportedly cut a utility pole in two, removed a traffic light box from its concrete base, before crashing into a gutter at the junction with American Road.

Khayum was reportedly trapped under the vehicle, while Periera was entwined in the mangled wreck.

Bird who was hospitalized briefly following the accident, was subsequently arrested and charged.

The trial, presided over by Justice Louise Blenman, lasted just over a week.

Testimony was heard from 10 prosecution witnesses, including police officers, a pathologist, and the victims’ relatives.

The defence produced four witnesses: retired assistant police commissioner Cardinal King, Daniel O’niel, an American engineer who specializes in vehicular accident reconstruction, and St. Lucian pathologist Dr. Stephen King.

The defendant also took the stand.

A nine member jury of seven men and two women, returned a unanimous guilty verdict, after deliberating for almost three hours.

Sentence was pronounced shortly thereafter, with Bird fined $70,000.00, to be paid in six months, or imprisonment for six months in default. He has also been disqualified from driving for two years.