A police constable with 20 years service appeared before a Tunapuna magistrate yesterday morning, charged with failing to report a traffic accident and failing to render assistance following a traffic accident, after an incident last week Sunday which claimed the life of 65-year-old retired Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) driver, Ralph Abraham.
Marvin Burke, 38, stationed at Santa Cruz Police Station, stood in silence as he appeared before Magistrate Simungal Ramsaran in the Tunapuna Magistrates’ First Court.
He was represented by attorney Denyse Gouveia.
It was alleged that on August 17, Burke failed to comply with Sections 79(1)(a) and 79(1)(c) of the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act 49:50.
Sub-section A states where, owing to the presence of a vehicle on a road, an accident occurs whereby injury or damage is caused to any person, animal or property, the driver of such vehicle shall immediately stop, and if any person has been injured in the accident, the driver shall render such person aid.
Sub-section C states that unless a report is made by the driver at the time and place of the accident to a member of the Police Service, the person driving the vehicle shall proceed with all proper despatch to the nearest police station and report the accident.
Burke pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Gouveia made a formal application for disclosure in the matter, noting that she wanted the case to begin as soon as possible.
Ramsaran then opted to regularise the $25,000 bail that Burke had received on Saturday, at the same amount to be approved by a clerk of the peace. He also gave an alternative of a $15,000 cash deposit which, he said, in his opinion, was a better option for the accused.
Gouveia agreed and asked the court to give her client one day to get his affairs and finances in order as she noted he had been in custody since 1 p.m. last Tuesday and had only been released on Saturday morning.
After further submissions, the magistrate transferred the matter to the Third Court and it is expected to resume today, to ensure that bail is regularised. From there the matter is expected to be adjourned to a date in September. Corporal Rogers is the complainant in the matter.
At about 8 p.m. on Sunday August 17, Abraham was returning to his home at Agostini Street in St Joseph when he was struck while attempting to cross the Priority Bus Route. He died instantly.
The driver of the vehicle which hit him did not stop, but eyewitnesses were reportedly able to get the make and model of the car.
The policeman was arrested while on duty at Santa Cruz Police Station last week.
Enquiries are continuing and further evidence, including CCTV footage, is expected to be reviewed and compiled before being handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutions for instructions on whether the accused will face an additional charge of either causing death by dangerous driving or vehicular manslaughter.