Judiciary

DPP to make a decision whether to appeal Bala’s case next week

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mr Christopher Pryde, will consider the Ruling of Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar Bala this morning and will make a decision on whether to appeal the decision next week. The Lautoka Magistrates’ Court acquitted Minister Bala earlier this morning. Parveen Kumar Bala was charged with one count of dangerous […]

Peni Shute

July 23, 2016 10:05 am

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mr Christopher Pryde, will consider the Ruling of Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar Bala this morning and will make a decision on whether to appeal the decision next week.

The Minister for Local Government and Transport Hon. Parveen Bala. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
The Minister for Local Government and Transport Hon. Parveen Kumar Bala. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

The Lautoka Magistrates’ Court acquitted Minister Bala earlier this morning.

Parveen Kumar Bala was charged with one count of dangerous driving occasioning death.

He was alleged to have driven a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner that caused the death of Puna Chand in Lautoka in 2013.

Magistrate Rangajeeva Wimalasena ruled that there was no case to answer and acquitted the Minister accordingly.

WIMALASENA: “It should be noted that even if the Prosecution case is taken at its highest no reasonable Court could convict the Accused as the evidence of the witnesses were manifestly unreliable and was discredited by cross-examination.”

“In the circumstances, I decide that the Prosecution has failed to make out a case against the Accused sufficiently to require the Accused to make a defence. Accordingly, I dismiss the charge and acquit the Accused from the charge of dangerous driving occasioning death.”

Meanwhile, Minister Bala said that it was a very critical time for him since the case started.

BALA: “Well it has been difficult times for me and I wish to thank the Almighty God, and definetly my families and friends for their prayers and I accept the decision of the Magistrate.”

When questioned if the case affected him in his work and capacity as a Government Minister, Bala said.

BALA: “Look I think people did not know about the truth, and now the truth has been said so I hope the people will understand.”

To read the ruling delivered today, click here to download. (746 kB)

The Lautoka Magistrates Court has acquitted Minister of Local Government and Infrastructure, Parveen Kumar a short while ago.

Minister Kumar was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, under the name Praveen Kumar Bala.

Magistrate Rangajeeva Wimalasena ruled that Kumar had no case to answer and acquitted the Minister.

According to a Police prosecutor, Magistrate Wimalasena ruled that the prosecution witnesses’ statements were contradicting each other and “was not believed by the court”.

The prosecution had presented statements and evidence from five witnesses.

A decision on the application for no case to answer for Minister of Local Government and Infrastructure, Parveen Kumar is expected to be delivered by Magistrate, Rangajeeva Wimalasena in Lautoka today.

Minister Kumar’s lawyer filed the no case to answer submission earlier this month.

Minister Kumar is charged with dangerous driving occasioning death.

The defence lawyers representing Minister of Local Government and Infrastructure, Parveen Kumar in his case told the Lautoka Magistrates Court that they will file an application of no case to answer.

The case was called yesterday at the Lautoka Magistrates Court before Resident Magistrate Rangajeeva Wimalasena.

The cross-examination from the Pathologist, Doctor Ponnuswamy Gounder who conducted the post-mortem was also heard in court via Skype as he resides in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr Goundar told the court that the post-mortem report conducted on the 7th of November, 2013 showed that external injuries were on the head and internal injuries include brain haemorrhages on the deceased’s head.

He also stated that there were no other injuries other than the ones he had highlighted.

Defence lawyer Shalend Krishna objected to the statement made by the pathologist that the police had informed him prior to the conducting of the tests that the cause of death was a motor vehicle accident.

The State and Defence lawyers have been given a week to make file their submissions on whether there is a case to answer or not.

Resident Magistrate Wimalesena has adjourned the matter to 22nd July for ruling on the matter.

The trial for the Minister of Local Government and Infrastructure, Parveen Kumar commenced at the Lautoka Magistrates Court yesterday.

Minister Kumar is charged with causing the death of Puna Chand, 48, by dangerous driving at Teidamu, near Lautoka in November 2013. Minister Kumar’s vehicle allegedly hit Chand, who died hours after being taken to the hospital.

The trial continues today.  Minister Bala is represented by Mr Devanesh Sharma while Mr Semi Babitu appeared for the State.

According to Fiji Times, the prosecution called two witnesses; Ms Arun Wati, who was the deceased’s wife, and Mr Ami Chand, who stated that he was travelling from Ba to Lautoka when he came across the accident.

Ms Arun Wati testified:

  • She was waiting near their Teidamu home at around 2.25pm when she saw her husband being hit by a car, landing on the gravel path from the impact of the collision.
  • Three men, including a neighbour, and witness Ami Chand came to her aid.
  • Her husband was put into Mr Chand’s vehicle and taken to the Lautoka Hospital.

Mr Chand testified:

  • He saw some security officers lifting Mr Chand to the side of the road.
  • He saw a white car parked on the kerb of the road but did not see the driver.

According to Fiji Sun, the prosecution was granted permission to conduct a Skype session with Dr James Goundar, who is currently in Australia and had conducted the post-mortem examination on the deceased.

The trial for Local Government and Infrastructure Minister Parveen Bala for the 2013 road accident case will be held next week on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Lautoka Magistrates Court.

The matter was to be called before Magistrate Rangajeeva Wimalasena this morning.

The case has been adjourned to next week due to the magistrate being unavailable and is currently engaged in a workshop.

A 48-year-old man was crossing the road in Teidamu, Lautoka when he was allegedly hit by a vehicle driven by Minister Bala in November 2013.

The man died three hours after he was taken to the hospital.

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