PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s Chief of Staff Robson Djokovic has yesterday pleaded guilty to the traffic offence against him.
Djokovic entered a guilty plea to one count of careless driving before Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi.
Sentencing submissions and mitigation were then made and the matter further adjourned to August 3 for sentence.
Public Prosecutor John Wesley Zoze after outlining the aggravating features submitted that any penalty imposed, the court should take into account both specific and deterrence.
“A message should be sent to him that the court would not tolerate this particular offence,” he said.
He also submitted the accused was driving when he fell asleep and he should have done the right thing by parking his car, taking a nap before moving on.
Zoze said the accident resulted in damage to properties and the incident happened in part of the town that public and pedestrians have accessed to and it was fortunate that no one was there at that time of the accident.
Wilson Rano of Rano & Company who represents Djokovic had asked for a fine.
He said his client entered an early guilty plea and a first time offender.
Rano said the damages to the vehicle involved in the accident and the concrete wall at the Iron Bottom Sound was met by his client.
He also added that under his client’s contract of service the vehicle will be transferred to his client.
Rano said since his client was in carriage of the vehicle his client had been maintaining the vehicle at his own cost and not the cost of the public.
On the day of the incident, Rano said his client had worked until the early hours of the morning.
Rano said his client admitted he fell asleep, veered off the road and hit a brick wall.
“My client was not under the influence of alcohol.”
He said his client was working late due to the workload and was on his way home when he fell asleep.
Rano said the incident happened in the heart of town but had happened in the early hours of the morning when no traffic or people were around.
He said as Chief of Staff his client had been working long hours and had not been getting enough rest.
Djokovic was driving a G-plated Hilux in the early hours of July 4 when he veered off the road and collided into a concrete wall outside the Iron Bottom Sound hotel in West Honiara.
He was heading in a westerly direction when the accident happened.
The Hilux and the hotel’s concrete wall sustained damages while Djokovic escaped injuries.
A Random Breathalyser Test (RBT) conducted on him had confirmed the presence of alcohol in his blood was below the legally prescribed level.
After Djokovic was charged the Leader of Opposition and members of the public raised concerns and complaints, calling on the Police Commissioner to re-look at the investigation.
As a result, the investigation process conducted by traffic officers on Djokovic’s traffic matter has been referred to as Police’s Professional Standards Internal Investigation (PSII) for an inquiry.
Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau told reporters at his weekly conference yesterday that he is still waiting for PSII to finalise their investigation.
He said he will be getting an update from the PSII next week.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN