The trial for the accident on Nis’s Bulevar Mediana has begun, the driver has pleaded not guilty
The first hearing was held, the injured parties demanded a higher sentence
The trial of 19-year-old N. S. from Belgrade, who is accused of crashing into the sidewalk in an accident on Bulevar Mediana on January 4 this year and killing a 12-year-old boy and a 45-year-old, has begun in the Basic Court in Nis. The accused driver pleaded not guilty, and the lawyers of the injured parties, ie the families of the victims, demanded that the prosecution reclassify the crime in the indictment, and that instead of 1 to 8 years, the driver face a sentence of 12 years.
The driver who is being tried, after defending himself in silence at the hearing in the Prosecutor’s Office, denied guilt for the traffic accident in the courtroom, and then expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and asked their forgiveness.
In his testimony, he said that immediately before the accident, he wanted to bypass another car after it got out of the roundabout, and that it seemed to him that the vehicle, while passing by it, was approaching him. He explained that he then squeezed the steering wheel and lowered his head because he was scared, and that he did not remember anything after that.
He claimed that after that he felt cramps, began to lose his orientation in space and that he felt, as he stated, noise in his ear and objects began to run before his eyes.
He also stated that he does not remember whether he braked with the vehicle or undertook some other action on the steering wheel before contact with the first pedestrian. He also claims to have driven 50km per hour.
Mediana Boulevard, as he said, reminded him of the highway, although, as he himself admitted, he often passes that boulevard. He was also heard to have a license for B and C category vehicles.
Lawyer of the families of the victims, Bratislav Stojanović
In the indictment for the driver, the Basic Prosecutor’s Office in Nis is asking for a prison sentence for a criminal offense against traffic safety of 8 years, as well as a security measure of banning the driving of a motor vehicle for 5 years.
This is exactly what the lawyers of the families of the victims want to change, in front of whom the lawyer Bratislav Stojanović submitted objections to the qualification of the criminal act, ie asked for the opportunity to propose a change in the qualification, as well as the amount of the threatened punishment.
Together with the hired expert advisor and court expert in the field of traffic, we determined that at the time of the accident, the speed of the “Audi” vehicle was 152 km per hour. The qualification of the indictment is no longer the same as it is now, because it is a criminal offense, not as it is now stated in the indictment, that a sentence of 1 to 8 years is threatened, but it is a criminal offense where a sentence of 2 to 8 years is threatened. 12 years in prison, because the basic act of endangering traffic safety on the roads was done with possible intent, and the consequences that resulted in the death of 2 pedestrians have a conscious negligence – says Stojanović.
The motion of the injured party was therefore to hear a traffic expert because of the speed at which the vehicle was moving, which was adopted by the court.
The qualification of the criminal act, the lawyers of the injured parties add, will depend on the answer of the expert to the questions and the remarks on the expertise and on the prosecutor. They explain that it exists as a possibility by law.
To me as a mother and the fact that we are 12 years old, it does not mean much. It would mean to me if my child returned – says the mother of the injured boy.
The driver’s defense attorney, Sasa Knezevic, requested a neuro-psychiatric examination of the defendant, and he also believes that the pre-investigation was short-lived.
I would not in any way minimize one great tragedy that happened, but what needs to be done in court proceedings is to establish indisputable facts. Is it just a matter of speed or is it some other circumstance. Narrow professionals, such as a traffic expert and a neuropsychiatrist, should state this. The prosecutor terminated the investigation after only 2 months – says Knezevic.
The other side in the trial opposes the psychiatric expertise.
We objected to the psychiatric expertise, having in mind that the defendant defended himself by keeping silent, there were no indications that psychiatric expertise was necessary at this stage of the procedure – the injured party explains.
The families of the injured pedestrians were present at the trial, and a friend of the injured man, who was with him at the time of the accident, also testified.
He was closer to the road, and I was closer to the fence that divides the territory of the water supply system. At one point I heard a bang. I started instinctively to turn to the left and I managed to see a black car “flying” towards us. I did not see the front end of the car, but the side – he said.
The prosecutor suggested that a police officer appear before the court as a witness, in the circumstances of the place where the driver was found after the accident and his behavior at the time, and the defense requested official data from the Police Administration in Nis about alleged arrogant driving in the days before the accident.
At one of the next hearings, two juvenile women, who were in the car with him at the time of the accident, could also be questioned.
The trial began about 2 and a half months after the accident, and because of that tragedy, many residents of Nis took to the streets, demanding to improve traffic safety in the city, in order to prevent similar tragedies, and demanded adequate penalties for traffic accidents, because consider that a sentence of 8 years’ imprisonment is not sufficient for such offenses.
Let us remind you, on January 4, the driver caused a traffic accident while driving about 130 km per hour on Bulevar in Duvanište, and a day later he was arrested.