Motorist in fatal hit-and-run ordered to do 450 hours of community service

The man pleaded guilty as charged, but in finding the man guilty the court also took into account the fact that the family of the deceased were not insisting on a custodial sentence

Poor street lighting, the position of trees along the road and adverse weather conditions, in addition to the fact that the victim had been inebriated were all taken to account by the court
Poor street lighting, the position of trees along the road and adverse weather conditions, in addition to the fact that the victim had been inebriated were all taken to account by the court

A driver has been placed on probation after he pleaded guilty to causing the death of a pedestrian in St. Julian’s.

Vladimirs Puzanovs was charged with having, on 16 December, in St.Andrew’s road St Julian’s negligently caused the death of Luc Clous. He was further accused of dangerous and reckless driving and of failing to a stop after an accident and speeding.

Puzanovs, a 27-year old Latvian national, had been behind the wheel of a Hyundai i10 after a staff party at Bahar iċ-Cagħaq on the night of the fatal incident.

Mr Clous, had been returning from the same party but with a different group of friends, inside another car when he was asked to get out after an argument that was about to boil over.

The young man, with a blood alcohol concentration that was “twice that of the drink/drive limit and consistent with it producing a state of drunkenness in a normal social drinker”, was hit by the accused’s car which drove on and was found later parked at Birzebbuga.

The victim was pronounced dead on site by paramedics shortly after 4am.

Puzanovs pleaded guilty as charged, but in finding the man guilty the court also took into account the fact that the family of the deceased were not insisting on a custodial sentence.

The man's probation officer had likewise suggested that a community service order would do more good than were he to go to jail.

The court observed that a number of witnesses had testified to seeing the victim crossing the road and had not realised that Clous had been hit.

Poor street lighting, the position of trees along the road and adverse weather were all factored in to the court’s reasoning. In addition, magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech noted that the victim had crossed just nine metres from a pedestrian crossing, was wearing black and was both drunk and had used cannabis at the time of his death.

“Whereas these findings in no way detract from the culpability of the accused, they must be taken into account when calibrating the punishment which is to be meted out. Sight cannot be lost of the fact that a human life was lost; a loss which could have been averted had the accused exercised due prudence and caution whilst driving the vehicle in the obtaining circumstances and in the conditions mention of which has already been made above.”

In view of this the court sentenced the accused to community service for 450 hours.

Puzanovs was also placed under a psychiatric treatment order for two years and disqualified from driving also for two years. He was ordered to bear the costs of the case.

Inspector Trevor Micallef prosecuted.

Lawyer Joe Giglio was defence counsel to Puzanovs.

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