charged for hit-and-run traffic accident
- Charged with negligent driving, failing to report an accident, and driving without license and insurance
By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
A policeman who was charged for committing a number of traffic offences in a hit-and-run accident incident has been acquitted by the Colombo Traffic Magistrate’s Court taking into account the failure of the prosecution’s insufficient investigations into the incident and its failure to identify the accused and crime scene.
Magistrate I.N. Rizwan acquitted policeman D. Silva from the charges filed against him for negligent driving, not reporting an accident, driving a vehicle without a driving licence, revenue licence and insurance.
According to the prosecution’s case, the accident took place on January 24, 2020 at Keppetipola Mawatha, Colombo 5. The complainant alleged that he was driving a land cruiser jeep, and he was coming through Police Park, to turn left at Keppetipola Mawatha when the accused’s jeep came in the same direction. He further alleged that there was a head-on collision when the police officer came on the wrong side of the road without going around the roundabout and collided with him head-on.
The right-hand side of the complainant’s vehicle was damaged by the suspect, who drove an old jeep. Accordingly, the complainant made a complaint that when he alighted from his vehicle, the four policemen who were in the jeep had also alighted and one of them was the suspect in this case while the others tried to hit him and they fled at the scene of the accident.
The aggrieved party claimed that the accused’s jeep came on the wrong side of the road. However, Senior Counsel Ian Fernando appearing for the accused during the cross-examination questioned whether he had even a photograph to show of the accident, which he had failed to do so. The aggrieved party contended that it was one of his official duties when the road signs clearly show that there is a roundabout.
The Complainant claimed that he had the video recording of the said accident through the video camera fixed in his car. However, the prosecution failed to produce video recordings before court since objections were taken by the defence that the video recording was not listed in terms of the Evidence Ordinance (Special Provisions Act) regarding Electronic Evidence. Accordingly, the prosecution failed to produce the video footage of the accident. When the OIC of Cinnamon Gardens Police was cross-examined by defence counsel Ian Fernando, it was established that he had no proof of photograph to the said accident and that he had not brought any CCTV evidence of the said accident and the Scene Of Crime Officer (SOCO) has not been called at a time when there is a hit and run case which is a requirement as for the police regulations.
The Cinnamon Gardens Police Station OIC traffic led the prosecution. Senior Counsel Ian Fernando with Counsel Malsha Wijerathne and Mohammed Safras appeared for the defence. Counsel Anuradha Goonawardhane appeared for the aggrieved party.