Prosecution closes case in Happy Acres causing death trial
Guyana Chronicle
December 10, 2003

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JUSTICE Winston Moore, who is hearing the Happy Acres causing death smash-up trial, is expected to sum up the evidence tomorrow before handing the case over to the jury for their consideration.

Michael Assanah, a minibus driver, is facing trial for causing the deaths of seven persons during a four-vehicle smash-up in December 1999.

After state prosecutor Ms Simone Morris closed her case yesterday, the accused represented by Mr. Mortimer Goddett, elected to make a statement from the dock.

The prosecution is alleging that on December 3, 1999, the accused Michael Assanah drove minibus ‘Red Rat’ No. BGG 4807 in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the deaths of Sewsankar Sewdat, Pamela Yaw, Sharon Lall, Sharon Simmons, Cheryl Primo, Leslyn Boucher and Leyland Prince.

In his statement from the dock, Assanah said, “I am innocent of this charge. I did not drive in a manner dangerous to the public and I did not cause the death of anyone. I was in flow of the traffic when a motorcar travelling in an opposite direction, struck my minibus and caused the vehicle to topple.”

In his address to the jury, defence counsel Mr. Coddett urged the members to find that the prosecution’s case was made up of a ‘comedy of errors’ and as such they should return a verdict of not guilty in favour of the accused.

On the other hand, Ms. Morris first told the jury that the prosecution had reduced the counts against the accused from seven to five, because two of the deceased persons were not properly identified.

She then perused the evidence of the respective witnesses to show that the accused was driving his minibus recklessly and dangerously that day and had caused the deaths of five persons.

Ms Morris pointed out that the prosecution had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and declared that it would be the duty of the jury to arrive at a verdict in keeping with their conscience and the oath they had taken by returning a verdict of guilty as charged. (George Barclay)