Mechanic, 23, jailed three-and-a-half years
The Takoradi Circuit Court last Thursday handed a three-and-half year sentence in hard labour to an auto mechanic apprentice, who killed a woman in Sekondi in a motor accident.
The apprentice, John Stoph, 23, in January this year, took a vehicle that was brought to his master’s mechanic shop in Sekondi for repairs and without permission from his master or the owner of the vehicle, headed to the city centre.
On reaching the Sekondi Market, Stoph lost control of the vehicle, knocked down and killed a 53-year-old woman, Madam Rita Asantewa, who was returning home from the market.
Her Lordship, Justice Abigail Anima Asare, who presided over the court, said the sentence should serve as a deterrent for like-minded persons and also help bring sanity onto the streets.
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The Western Regional Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent, Richard Appiah, welcomed the ruling and said the level of indiscipline on the streets was making the streets unsafe.
He said the police had devised means to deal with indiscipline and would not countenance such recklessness at the expense of the safety of the people.
Mr Appiah said at the time of his arrest, the convict was not a licensed driver and simply did not know when to apply the brake or accelerate and was only applying basic skills he had picked from the shop as an apprentice.
Chief Superintendent Appiah noted that under the circumstances, on coming face-to-face with the woman, coupled with the dangers on the road, he could not apply his brake and had to ram into the victim, killing her instantly.
The sentence, he said, should serve as a lesson to others who were driving on the streets without licence, particularly mechanic apprentices who misused vehicles sent to their workshops for repairs.
Mr Appiah said the police MTTD was doing everything possible to ensure safety on the roads but disrespect for law and order on the part of some members of the public was posing a serious challenge to law enforcement.
That notwithstanding, he said the police would not give up.
In a related development, Mr Appiah said another unlicensed driver at Ketan in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis knocked down a bicycle rider into a bridge last week, leading to the rider being admitted to hospital with a spinal cord injury.
He said that driver was also convicted and was serving his sentence at the Sekondi Prisons.
Chief Superintendent Appiah has, therefore, cautioned others who are driving carelessly on the streets and without licence to be careful, since the police would not spare them when they are caught.