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Drunk driver to fix broken house

Published: 
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Nigel Jacob as he left court on Monday.nigel jacob

The drunk driver who crashed into a family’s home in Debe escaped being sent to jail yesterday.

Nigel Jacob, however, is not off the hook. His is sentences for driving under the influence and dangerous driving were deferred to next year and will depend on what attempts, if any, he makes to compensate the homeowner.

On the other two charges of driving without a driver’s permit and insurance, Jacob, 42, a security officer, was slapped with $5,000 in fines and disqualified from obtaining a driver’s permit for the next three years.

Jacob reappeared before the San Fernando Traffic Court yesterday one day after he was remanded in custody for the police to produce an estimate of the damage to the house and household articles.

He had pleaded guilty to the four charges and not guilty to driving the Nissan Note without the consent of the owner. He was granted $10,000 own bail on the latter offence.

Jacob, after drinking several beers and drinks of puncheon rum, crashed into the house around 6 pm on Saturday and landed up in the living room. He recorded a reading of 105 microgrammes. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Yesterday the home’s owner, Vijanti Seudath, showed Magistrate Lisa Singh-Phillip two estimates for the damage, totalling $40,000 and photos. Seudath said her two nieces and their four children cannot live in the house because there is a hole in the wall and the structure is unsound.

She said her nieces’ husband, however, will still sleep there to watch over the items in the house. Jacob said he was willing to pay compensation, but the magistrate could not give an order for compensation because of the extent of the damage. Seudath said her ability to repair her home will depend on how much compensation Jacob gives her.

Given the aggravating factors of the case, the magistrate told Jacob she was leaning towards a custodial sentence for the drunk and dangerous driving charges, but if he goes to jail he would not be able to pay the compensation.

Jacob said he was willing to pay Seudath $2,000 a month for a period of time. The magistrate fined him $4,000 or four months on the insurance charge and $1,000 or two months on the permit charge.

Deferring sentence on the other two charges, the magistrate granted him $50,000 approval bail. She also ordered him to surrender his passport and report to the Santa Flora Police Station on Tuesdays.

“The court is going to keep a close eye on your payment,” she told Jacob before adjourning the matter to January 9, to determine what progress had been made in terms of compensation. Speaking with reporters after the court hearing, Seudath said if the crash occurred mere minutes earlier her relatives could have been injured. She, however, agreed with the magistrate’s decision to defer sentence.

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