Dubai bus crash: Driver's lawyer blames faulty position of barrier
Dubai - Lawyer argued that the barrier that the bus collided with was not compliant with international standards.
The confession of the 53-year-old Omani bus driver, accused of driving recklessly and causing the death of 17 passengers and injury of 13 others in Al Rashidiya bus crash, is not valid due to technical reasons, his lawyer told a Dubai court on Thursday.
Emirati lawyer Mohammed Saif Al Tamimi, who is representing the driver, presented his defence arguments before the Dubai Court of Appeals. The court then adjourned the hearing to October 31 when it will pronounce a ruling.
Al Tamimi blamed the faulty position of the overhead height restriction barrier, which the driver struck and caused severe damage to the bus around 5.40pm on June 6 at Al Rashidiya exit on Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road. The bus driver, who was driving at 94kmph, exceeding the speed limit by more than a double according to technical reports, stopped 44 metres from the crash site.
Al Tamimi argued that the barrier that the bus collided with was not compliant with international standards. "There are technical faults as to how it was placed and how it was made. It should not have been that solid but rather moved when hit."
The driver, who remains on bail, attended the hearing. His bail conditions included depositing his passport in addition to two other passports.
The defence lawyer requested that his client be cleared and that the conviction verdict be annulled. "I demand that a road engineering expert be appointed to assess the technical faults."
On July 11, the Dubai Traffic Court convicted the driver on multiple charges, including causing the death of 17 passengers, inflicting different physical injuries on 13 others and causing property damage. It sentenced him to seven years in prison.
It ordered him to pay Dh3.4 million in blood money to the families of the crash victims.
The court also ordered in its ruling that the defendant's driving licence be suspended for one year and that he be deported after serving his prison term and paying, in addition to the blood money, a Dh50,000 fine.
Advocate-General and head of the Traffic Prosecution Salah Bou Farrucha Al Felasi earlier said that the driver admitted during the prosecution investigation his fault by not following the signboards and not sticking to the bus lane while driving a bus with 30 passengers.
As many as 15 passengers died on the spot and the others were rushed to hospitals.