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Expat worker discharged without conviction after long delay

Monday 25 March 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National


Expat worker discharged without conviction after long delay

A foreign worker, who was expected to be sentenced for a 2022 careless driving causing injury charge, has been discharged without conviction.

Ravinesh Ram Chetty left the High Court in Avarua relieved after Chief Justice Patrick Keane vacated his conviction.

Chetty faced accusations of careless driving on August 17, 2022, in a white truck, causing injury to a motorcyclist.

Chief Justice Keane explained that Chetty was driving from Rutaki towards the Kavera store. As he approached, he decided to park across the store and made a right turn. He failed to see the victim approaching the opposite lane on a motorcycle and collided with the truck.

The victim sustained a laceration to the right chin and minor cuts.

Chetty admitted responsibility for the accident.

Probation Services suggested a 12-month probation sentence, attendance at counselling and workshops, and a restriction on Chetty leaving the country without court consent.

The police argued for carelessness at the far end of the scale, recommending disqualification from driving and a fine.

Chetty’s lawyer, Mark Short, was absent, and Lavi Rokoika stepped in for the defence.

Rokoika adviced for a discharge without conviction. He presented Chetty’s references, describing him as a responsible, dependable, and cautious driver. Chetty had also apologised to the victim and donated $300.

Chief Justice Keane said Chetty pleaded guilty at the Justice of the Peace court on October 6, 2022. The victim impact statement arrived on October 25, 2022, and the pre-sentence report was expected on November 16, 2022.

Chetty’s first appearance before Chief Justice Keane came in January 2023. However, the pre-sentence report remained incomplete.

The Chief Justice only saw the file in December 2023, which he deemed unacceptable due to the delay Chetty had endured.

“When you committed your offence, you accepted responsibility and made a donation to the victim. Since 17 August 2022, you have not committed any other offence, you have been on bail,” the Chief Justice said.

“You and your family are dependent on your income here and any risk to your ability to remain working here has to be very concerning.”
Chief Justice Keane expressed satisfaction with these factors and ultimately vacated Chetty’s conviction.