Many are upset with the fine imposed on a Vieux Fort man who admitted to police that he was drinking on the day he struck and killed a medical student on February 8, 2014.
On Monday, Justice Georgis Taylor-Alexander on the count of causing death by dangerous driving, issued a fine to Caleb Antoine of EC$10,000 to be paid within 6 months and in default to serve a 1 year sentence.
“The crime begs for a jail sentence, plus the fine. That’s way too lenient,” Daniel Anatole said.
Another reader said, “Today he is a free man with a 10,000.00 fine…and a free ride home to enjoy his stew pork, sorrel , fruit cake and most likely rum for Christmas, while the victim is six feet under, and a family in total shock at the outcome and a Christmas filled with grief. Wow… just wow!!”
Duane Tucker said, “$10,000 or one year in prison? Is this the maximum penalty for death by dangerous driving? Wow! This country sucks and people will start dishing out their own justice.”
Asked to comment on the situation, the mother of the deceased, Modupe Olaogun, told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that he can understand how the verdict could be upsetting for several people.
“It’s a universal human instinct to correlate a penalty with the value placed upon the object against which there has been transgression. People who are upset probably believe that the fine does not sufficiently place value upon human life. They may reason that in St. Lucian law, the penalty for causing the death of a cow through vehicular collision arising from dangerous driving is a fine,” he said.
Modupe said it appears that people do not want to see the value of human lives reduced to that of a cow or chickens.
“From the people’s perspective, every dangerous driver who gets away with what amounts to “a slap on the wrist” emboldens other potentially dangerous drivers to operate their vehicles as a killing machine that takes people’s lives more than as a means of transportation or pleasure. It seems a good idea to listen to the voice of the people, which, as they say, is “the voice of God.”
Omotayo Morrison was a third trimester student at Spartan Health Sciences University and was walking off the pitch surface of St Jude Road Highway in the residential neighbourhood of Hewanorra Orchard in Vieux Fort with a school mate, Maninder Kaur, around 4:00 am on February 8th, 2014, when a Subaru Legacy driven by Antoine flew off its lane, bounced off the retaining wall of the opposite lane and struck the two students.
The impact threw Morrison108 feet and Kaur 79 feet. Morrison sustained severe head injuries and damage to his brain stem, succumbing to his injuries at 8:05 pm the same day, according to autopsy report.