The man charged in the death of five people on Labour Day (June 19) when his car crashed into the Palance Bar in El Dorado was granted $135,000 bail with a surety when he appeared in court yesterday. Ken Ronaldo Gomez, 24, of Davis Street, Tacarigua was not called upon to plead to four counts of death by dangerous driving when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Nanette Ford-John in the Tunapuna First Court. Gomez, whose forehead was bandaged, later pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence when he appeared before Magistrate Andrew Stroude in the Tunapuna Third Court. Gomez’s charge, by Sgt Mark Maharaj, was that on June 19, at the corner of the Eastern Main Road and Govia Street, El Dorado, he drove his car in a dangerous manner so as to cause the deaths of Shiva Bharath, 27, of Caroni; Shayaz Khan, 25, and his mother, Christine, 51, of McKenzie Street, Frederick Settlement, Caroni; and Harrylal Mongroo, 31, of Maharaj Street, Five Rivers.
Objecting to bail, prosecutors in both courts urged the magistrate to consider the seriousness of the offences and pointing out that Gomez had pending matters. Prosecutors claimed also that an additional charge would be laid against Gomez, when the fifth victim is identified. Ford-John later granted Gomez bail in the sum of $100,000 with a surety to be approved by a Clerk of the Peace, to cover the four counts of death by dangerous driving. Represented by attorney Suneesh Singh in both courts, Gomez was later granted $35,000 bail with a surety to be approved by a Clerk of the Peace, when he appeared before Stroude charged with driving under the influence. Gomez will reappear on July 23. Meanwhile, police are seeking the public’s help to identify the fifth victim. The contact number at the Tunapuna Police Station is 662-4978.