x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Man home after blood money is paid for drink-drive death

A man who served two years on a three-month sentence for killing a pedestrian while drink driving has been released after an Indian aid organisation paid a blood-money settlement on his behalf.

DUBAI // A man has been deported after serving almost two years in prison for killing a pedestrian while drink driving.

Shibu Ouseph, 39, was released from jail late on Monday and immediately deported to India after an Indian aid organisation paid an undisclosed blood-money settlement for his release.

"Once you go inside you never come out - that is the fear," Mr Ouseph said from his home in Anjthengu village, near Trivandrum in southern India. "I thought I would never come out, never see my family again."

He had worked in Dubai for 12 years as a driver before the October 2007 accident in which he struck a pedestrian at Dubai Investment Park. The victim, also from India, died two days later.

Mr Ouseph was released after three days in jail but was banned from leaving the country and had to hand his passport to police. He continued to work with his employer, a chemical company, until the police investigation was completed.

Mr Ouseph was arrested in December 2009and was charged with negligent driving under the influence of alcohol. He was sentenced to three months in jail and a payment of Dh200,000 blood money.

Mr Ouseph acknowledged he should not have drunk alcohol before driving, for which the UAE has zero tolerance.

In his case, lawyers said he faced a lower sentence because his blood-alcohol levels were low, and the victim died two days after the accident, from cardiac arrest.

Back at home with his wife and two young daughters, Mr Ouseph plans to return to his family trade of fishing. He swore he would never again leave his country for a job.

"I will always regret taking that drink," he said. "It is my one mistake that I will never forget."