BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
THE Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Robson Djokovic has been ordered to pay a fine of $1,700 by Wednesday August 5 after he was convicted of careless driving.
The court imposed a fine and ordered that once he fails to pay the fine by that date in default of three months imprisonment.
This is the case in relation to the traffic incident which occurred on early Saturday morning, July 4.
Magistrate Taeburi in her sentencing said the case of Djokovic has no evidence of alcohol involved and therefore the appropriate sentence is a fine.
She said that he had put the lives of other road users at risk and it is very fortunate that he did not hit another vehicle or pedestrian if he had, lives would have been lost.
Although 6am the road is not as busy as it usually does, the fact remains that it is a public main road which other users also have the right to use, Taeburi said.
Ms Taeburi also considered the defence lawyer Wilson Rano’s submission that the accused fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. The accused is the Chief of staff of the Prime Minister’s Office of Solomon Islands.
The defence counsel argued that because of the office that he holds, Mr Djokovic was overloaded with work and pressure. The counsel argued that the defendant was only able to get few hours of sleep several nights before the accident. This caused him to fall asleep whilst driving during the morning of the accident.
“I do not think the court should accept this line of argument. If I do accept it, it would mean that the courts condone accidents caused by drivers who experience work related pressures and stresses”, Taeburi said.
She said the responsibility is on each individual driver in whatever circumstance to take steps and measures to ensure that he or she is fit to drive. Every driver in this country regardless of whatever condition, situation or circumstance, have a legal duty to exercise caution and care on the road so that lives of other road users are not at risk.
“I take into account the office that Mr Djokovic hold, the vehicle was given to him under the privilege of his office. This also means that the defendant like other government officials who hold high positions and who are entrusted with government properties have a higher duty to exercise.
“I must criticise the defence counsel for not providing evidence on the issue of the repair of the damages caused. The issue of repair is not an agreed fact before this court. I am sure that Mr Rano is well aware that he cannot give evidence from the bar table. Evidence must be presented in the proper manner. The only reason I accept his submission on this issue is because the prosecutor has agreed in his written submissions that the defendant did pay for the costs of the repairs”, Ms Taeburi said
Mr Djokovic was driving a G-plated hilux vehicle and was travelling in a westerly direction when the motor vehicle veered off the road and collided into a concrete wall outside the Iron Bottom Sound Hotel.