x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dh1,000 fine for speedboat death

Poor visibility blamed for collision that left fisherman dead.

DUBAI // A speedboat driver who fatally injured a 72-year-old Emirati fisherman when he crashed into his boat was sentenced to a month in jail and fined Dh1,000 yesterday.

DE, 37, from Lebanon, was piloting the speedboat to the World Islands development for his employer, the Dubai Water Sports Association, when the accident happened on May 3 last year.

Before setting out, DE had told DB, an employee at the Dubai Water Sports Association, to load seven two-metre-high floating barriers on to the speedboat - five on the front of the boat and one on each side.

"I wasn't able to see clearly because of the barriers," DB said.

He said that he was travelling at 30 knots (55kph) despite poor visibility at the time.

The fisherman, AM, had stopped his boat behind the fishing port. Shortly after 6.30am, two crewmen screamed a warning that a speedboat was approaching. Both men then jumped into the sea.

The speedboat hit the fishing vessel, flew into the air and landed on top of the craft, injuring AM.

The two crewmen called police, and an ambulance took the unconscious AM to Rashid Hospital.

A forensic report confirmed he had suffered severe injuries to his head and left lung, and multiple fractures. He died on August 25.

At a hearing in February at the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours, DE denied causing death due to negligence and lack of attention, as well as causing Dh31,000 in damage.

DE's lawyer, Mohammed al Saadi, said last night that his client had initially pleaded not guilty because he had misunderstood the charge as one of intentional killing. Once the charge had been explained, DE had changed his plea to guilty, Mr al Saadi said.

DE had spent a month in jail before trial and had been freed already, he said. The lawyer said his client would pay the fine "soon", and that diyya (blood money) would be covered by insurance.

Mr al Saadi welcomed the leniency of the sentence, saying the court had taken into consideration his client's guilty plea and lack of intent.