ZR Death Driver had 197 prior driving convictions!
Sometimes you read the papers and you just don’t know what to think. Laugh at the absurdity of our so-called justice system? Cry for our people who are so inured to low performance by the public sector that they can’t recognise what standards are acceptable? Become angry that our leadership spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a bloody cricket oval but can’t be bothered to protect citizens from chronic dangerous or drunk drivers?
Today’s unbelievable-except-this-is-Barbados-where-such-things-are-normal story concerns ZR route taxi driver Cyril O’Bryan Archer who drove his vehicle so dangerously fast on February 8, 1999 that he killed Errol Thornhill. Archer’s trial for causing death by dangerous driving was held yesterday and he plead guilty to a lesser charge of dangerous driving.
That’s right folks – it took eleven years for a traffic death charge to make it to a trial.
Meanwhile the accused Archer racked up almost two hundred traffic convictions and up until yesterday was still driving on our roads and endangering our friends and loved ones.
Oh well – what do you expect? This is Barbados and we should feel lucky the driver was ever charged to begin with and that it only took eleven years to come to trial. I mean, the last few times we reported on justice delays it was 18 years of condo hell, and child-rape charges dropped after 10 years, and more child-sex charges took 7 years to come to trial, and a foreign resident who purchased land in Barbados can’t get title or deed for 34 years, and…
… and I’m getting tired of listing all the stories again, so I’ll just send you to a BFP story from last August where we listed a dozen or so examples of justice delayed in Barbados…
So… almost two hundred driving offenses convictions and eleven years to come to trial – and the Nation News and The Barbados Advocate report it like “what can you do?” and such performance from the courts and the police is normal in Barbados.
Because… it is.
Here’s the piece from the Nation News. You really should read it at their website – but you know it’s going to disappear so we’ll print it here too.
ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT.
That is the number of traffic convictions route taxi driver Cyril O’Bryan Archer now has after he threw in the towel in the No. 2 Supreme Court yesterday and confessed to dangerous driving.
On Tuesday, Archer, 47, of Kendall Hill, Christ Church, was arraigned with causing Errol Thornhill’s death by driving route taxi ZR 42 on Martindales Road, St Michael, at a speed and in a manner dangerous to the public on February 8, 1999.
He pleaded not guilty and was scheduled to go on trial yesterday.
However, before any evidence could be led, Archer had a change of heart and pleaded guilty to the lesser count of dangerous driving.
He was represented by Dr Lenda Blackman, while Principal Crown Counsel Anthony Blackman prosecuted.
Justice Margaret Reifer instructed the nine-member mixed jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty to death by dangerous driving and guilty to dangerous driving.
Archer had 197 previous convictions, including 50 for carrying excess passengers; 33 for being off route; 20 for failing to display his badge; 13 for carrying more than one person beside him; 11 for stopping at a place other than a bus stop and nine for playing loud music and picking up passengers at a place other than a bus stop.
He also had traffic convictions for not keeping his door closed, failing to comply with traffic signs and lawmen in uniform, as well as causing obstructions, failing to draw to the left at the sound of a siren and reversing for longer than was necessary.
His counsel Blackman asked for a pre-sentencing report, which was granted by Justice Reifer.
Archer returns to court on March 10 for sentencing.
Prosecutor Blackman said Archer was driving ZR 42 along Martindales Road, on his way to Silver Hill, Christ Church, while Thornhill was riding a bicycle having just left his house at Bannister Land, St Michael.
Thornhill was waiting at the junction of Campaign Land and Martindales Road for a safe opportunity to enter Martindales Road. Traffic was moderate to heavy.
A motorist stopped for him and Thornhill rode out.
At that same time Archer, driving at a fast rate of speed, overtook the traffic ahead of him and collided with Thornhill, knocking him off the bicycle.
Thornhill ended up with his head on the sidewalk and his body in the road.
Archer, meanwhile, jumped out of his route taxi and into another vehicle and disappeared from the scene.