An Omani bus driver, sentenced to seven years in Dubai after he was found guilty by the Dubai Traffic Court on the charges of causing the death of 17 passengers and injury of 13 others, has been released on bail.
Emirati lawyer Mohammed Saif Al Tamimi, who is representing the driver at the Dubai Court of Appeals, has confirmed the release which happened on Thursday.
Al Tamimi said: “There was a court hearing into the case that was supposed to be held in September but it was moved to an earlier date and the court convened today as per our request. During the hearing, our client was granted bail.”
The bail conditions included depositing the defendant’s passport, in addition to two other passports. “It is the first hearing of the appeal process. The trial will continue in September,” Al Tamimi pointed out.
On July 11, the Dubai Traffic Court convicted the 53-year-old driver on multiple charges, including causing by mistake the death of 17 passengers, inflicting different physical injuries on 13 others and causing property damage in the June 6 crash.
It ordered the defendant to pay Dh3.4 million in blood money to the families and heirs of the crash victims.
The court also ordered in its ruling that the defendant’s driving licence be suspended for one year and that he be deported after serving his prison time and paying, in addition to the blood money, a Dh50,000 fine.
During the trial, the driver told the court that the sunshade placed in front of him to protect his eyes blocked his proper view of the road.
Advocate-General and head of the Traffic Prosecution Salah Bou Farrucha Al Felasi earlier said that the driver admitted to not following the signboards and not sticking to the bus lane while driving a bus with 30 passengers during the prosecution investigation.
Technical reports showed that the defendant drove the bus on the second lane from the left, the lane meant for cars, at 94kmph, exceeding the speed limit by more than double.
He hit first the overhanging metallic parts (used to alert the high vehicles) and then crashed head-on into the overhead metallic barrier from the left side of the bus. As many as 15 passengers died on the spot and the others were rushed to hospitals. The bus, which got severely damaged, stopped 44 metres away from the crash site.