IT has been almost five years since her son was fatally struck down by a taxi driver and while justice appears to be eluding Beverly Roberts, the man who allegedly killed her son is back on the road behind the wheel of his taxi.
The woman’s son, Renel Roberts, who was five-years-old at the time was killed when he and his grandfather were mowed down while they were waiting to cross the road at Good Hope, Essequibo Coast, on the morning of August 24, 2014.
Jageshwar Ragoobar, the hire-car driver of Lot 84 Aurora, Essequibo Coast who was 28 at the time appeared in the Charity Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Sunil Scarce a week later and was not required to plead to the charge; the charge stated that on August 24, 2014 at Good Hope, as a result of dangerous driving, he caused the death of Renel Roberts.
According to the police, around 10:30hrs on August 24, 2014, young Roberts, who was a pupil of the Good Hope Nursery School, was proceeding north on the western side of the Good Hope Public Road on his pedal cycle accompanied by his grandfather who was on a separate pedal cycle.
There was an excavator working on a trench on the western side of the road. The boy dismounted his cycle and was pushing it around the excavator when hire car HC 3530 driven by Ragoobar, which was proceeding north, collided with the child.
The child sustained injuries and was picked up in an unconscious state and rushed to the Suddie Public Hospital. He was later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The man was granted bail by Magistrate Scarce in the sum of $250,000 and the following year, he was jailed but one month after the sentencing, he was spotted by relatives of the victim driving along the roadway, much to their anger.
The child’s mother said that she knew the task of seeking justice for the loss of her son would have been an uphill one from the inception. She said that for three months after the incident, the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the file on her son’s case deepened. She said that the magistrate subsequently stated that four months seemed too long for the file not to be returned and he even questioned why there was a delay at the time.
She said Magistrate Scarce had asked during the subsequent hearings if any relative of the deceased was in court and she made her presence known; at that time she indicated to the magistrate that on November 5 that year (2014) she had checked with the DPP’s Chambers and it was revealed that the file was indeed returned to Essequibo two days earlier.
Roberts said that the traffic chief was also contacted and he confirmed that the file was returned to Essequibo. Subsequntly, the accused was found guilty in April 2015 and was sentenced to 52 months in prison. However, in May 2015, he was seen walking the road by the family of the victim.
The child’s mother said she later found out that he appealed the matter and the Court of Appeal was awaiting the file to be sent from the Suddie Magistrate’s Court. She said checks with the latter revealed that they are preparing to send the file to the Court of Appeal, some four years now.
She said she was later told that the courts have been awaiting a statement from Magistrate Scarce; however, he seemed disinterested in the case. Meanwhile, the accused remains a free man and was recently seen driving his taxi at Good Hope.
The victim’s mother said that something appeared “fishy” in the case since her father, who was the main witness in the case, was present in court at each hearing. She said too that she could not understand why the file was taking so much time to be returned to Essequibo during the initial stages of the case, although she suspected that the suspect was being aided by a relative who was a very senior police official.
“This breaks my heart all over again,” Roberts said, as she shared photos of her son when he was alive. She said he would have been 10 years old this year and many days, his 14-year-old sister cries for him.
Roberts, who works with the Department of Public Information (DPI), said she plans to seek an audience with Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams on the matter. ”That is my only hope,” she said, as she noted that the court system often makes life difficult for the relatives of victims of road accidents.