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Matatu driver jailed for 18 months for killing bodaboda rider – VIDEO

A matatu driver who killed a bodaboda rider in an accident involving four cars will pay a fine of Sh100,000 or in default serve a jail term of 18 months.

Isaac Ochana Atuya killed Peter Kyalo Musee near Rikana Supermarket along Jongoo road in Nairobi on June 19, 2016.

Makadara chief magistrate Heston Nyaga said Atuya’s licence would not be cancelled.

During his trial, Atuya had put up a defence arguing that the State did not call all the other drivers involved in the accident to testify hence the evidence of the police, motor vehicle inspection and five others called by the prosecution was unreliable.

But Nyaga said the prosecution is not obliged to call a superfluity of witnesses but only witnesses that are sufficient to establish the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Even in the absence of the said evidence, it is still very clear that the accused was speeding, from the skid marks. He failed to keep a safe distance as required and he hit not just the deceased but also the vehicle ahead,” Nyaga said.

Not permitted to be on the road

The lawyers also said Musee’s driving or riding licence was not produced in court and therefore he was not permitted to be on the road.

“On this issue, I find that the definition of the offence does not turn on whether the road user is permitted or authorised to be on the road. The purpose of the offence is to protect members of public hence the use of ‘dangerous to the public’,” Nyaga said.

“In this case, the motorcyclist falls within the definition of public who stands to be protected from reckless driving.”

Nyaga said the fact that there is an unauthorised person on the road does not relieve the driver of the duty to exercise care and diligence in driving.

The magistrate said common sense and the test of an ordinary driver suggests that in such circumstances, drivers should drive with the least speed and taking into consideration other users of the road.

“The fact that the motorcycle was hit from behind means that the accused was driving recklessly and failed to exercise reasonable care by failing to observe a motorcycle in front of him as well as failing to observe that other motorists had stopped to give way to pedestrians,” he said.