Appeal Court throws out appeal over fatal 2011 PBR accident

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justice Mira Dean Armorer. – File photo

AN appeal against a judge’s dismissal of a running-down action arising out of a fatal 2011 accident on the Priority Bus Route (PBR) has been dismissed.

On March 27, Justices of Appeal Mira Dean-Armorer, Vasheist Kokaram and Carla Brown-Antoine dismissed the appeal of John Clarke.

He had challenged Justice Jacqueline Wilson’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the estate of a driver involved in a deadly two-car collision at the corner of Mausica Road, D’Abadie, and the PBR on September 25, 2011.

The Ministry of National Security and the Attorney General were also sued.

Clarke was one of the passengers in one of the vehicles.

In their ruling, delivered by Brown-Antoine, the judges held that they could not overturn the decision of the High Court on a finding of fact.

They reminded that a trial was not a dress rehearsal, and they could only overturn a decision if it was found that the trial judge failed to consider all of the evidence.

In this case, they said Wilson did consider all of the evidence, which included photographs of the accident, giving her a “clearer view” of what happened.

“There is no compelling reason to suggest she did not take into account the whole of the evidence,” was the Appeal Court’s unanimous decision.

The judges also held that since the question of contributory negligence was not pleaded before the judge, it could not be argued on appeal without their permission.

In dismissing Clarke’s appeal, they ordered him to pay two-thirds of the cost of the appeal while affirming the judge’s order of costs quantified at $14,000.

The fatal accident left two men dead, including a former Olympian.

Ali St Louis, 52, whose estate was sued, and Jason “Wagon” Riley were identified as those who died.

St Louis was an employee of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Ministry of National Security and a retired soldier. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, USA, he competed in the men’s 400 metres event.

Clarke was represented by Chankar Persadsingh. Maria Belmar represented the Ministry of National Security and the Attorney General at the appeal.