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Driver to pay $55,000 compensation

Driver to pay $55,000 compensation


Having escaped a manslaughter charge and a possible custodial sentence, 30-year-old Kenliss “Stay Cool” Thomas will now have pay $55,000 in compensation by November 2009 if he is to stay out of prison.{{more}}

Thomas, a farmer of Georgetown, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Shanika Roban by dangerous driving on March 16, 2007, at Byera. The nine-member jury was instructed to return a not guilty verdict on the manslaughter charge after the prosecution, led by attorney Joezel Jack, withdrew the matter. He was fined $7,000 to be paid in 18 months or in default, three years behind bars.

On Monday, March 23, 2009, at The High Court, the convicted man was ordered to pay $5,000 of the compensation by next Monday and the remainder in eight months time. His driver’s license has also been suspended for three years.

The facts revealed that Thomas, the driver of a Nissan Terrano, registration number PB 794, was driving along the Byera road, at approximately 7:45 p.m, when he lost control and struck a utility pole. Roban, who was seated at the back of the vehicle, was killed instantly, while another passenger, Ricky Pinder, seated in the front, was asleep at the time and sustained head and chest injuries and a broken arm. Thomas dislocated his shoulder and received foot injuries.

A post mortem report revealed that Roban died as a result of crush injuries to her head and chest.

In a plea of mitigation, Thomas’ Lawyer, Ronald Marks, said that his client pleaded guilty and credit should be given to him for doing so. Marks added that Thomas is the sole breadwinner of his home and works for only $450 a week as a farmer. The top Lawyer said that incident took place when the country had been under a tropical storm watch, and noted that Thomas was only trying to get back to Georgetown in a hurry to beat the weather.

Marks told the court that three years later, his client still could not recall the incident in its entirety. “All he can remember is seeing a light traveling at a fast pace in the opposite direction,” Marks said. He asked the court to bear in mind that Thomas did not act with wanton disregard for safety and he is not someone who is engaged in racing on the road.

Appearing on behalf of the mother of the deceased, Lawyer Grant Connell said that the family agrees with the decision of the defence to pay compensation to the administrators of Shanika’s estate. (KW)