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Man on DUI charge jailed, banned from driving for life

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Rajendra Maharaj

A 25-year-old driver who was charged four times in three years for drunk driving ran out of luck on Tuesday, after he was sentenced to nine months in jail.

When he completes his sentence, however, Matthew Raghunanan of Hermitage Village, San Fernando, will no longer be permitted to drive on the nation’s roads legally as he was also permanently disqualified from holding or applying for a driver’s licence.

Raghunanan had pleaded guilty in the San Fernando Traffic Court to failing the breathalyser test and driving without due care and attention since August. However, he asked for an opportunity to attend Arrive Alive classes.

Prosecutor Sgt Kassiram Lutchman said on August 23 around 6.45 pm Raghunanan was involved in a road traffic accident involving another vehicle along Main Road, Philippine.

Lutchman said while PC Burton was interviewing Raghunanan on the scene he smelled strong alcohol emanating from his breath.

A breathalyser test on Raghunanan recorded a reading of 54 microgrammes. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

In 2015 and 2016, Raghunanan was convicted and fined for driving under the influence. Admonishing him for his irresponsible behaviour, Magistrate Natalie Diop sentenced him to do hard labour in jail.

PC Burton was commended for his dedication to duty.

In another matter, Rajendra Maharaj, 35, a labourer, breached a no right turn sign and almost collided with another vehicle along Cipero Street on September 21.

He was stopped by PC Sujeet Ramcharan, who was on a road block exercise. While speaking with him, the officer smelled alcohol on his breath. The breathalyser test revealed he was 49 microgrammes.

Maharaj, who was on a bond for a similar offence, was fined $8,000 or 12 months for drunk driving and disqualified from driving for 24 months. He was fined $1,000 on the traffic breach and $3,000 on the other charge.