Will‬ Bala’s trial ever take place: 17 adjournments to date

  • 16th February 2016
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‪Pravin Kumar aka Praveen Bala Minister for Local Government etc etc  killed a man in November 2013.     bala

He allegedly drove dangerously going down the Teidamu hill near Lautoka and mowed down Mr Puna Chand who had just alighted from a bus and was waiting to cross the road to get to his home.

The accident was witnessed by his wife who had come down to help him carry the groceries he had bought in Lautoka.

Bala was quick to get himself admitted to the Lautoka Hospital soon after the accident where he was ‪#‎visited‬ by Attorney General Khaiyum. At the time Bala was a prospective candidate for the Fiji First Party for the 2014 general elections.

Some 27 months later, Bala’s case is yet to go to trial. It has been adjourned on more than 17 occasions we are told.

Just last week (27 Jan) the Lautoka Magistrate’s Court had fixed 28-29 June for hearing but within 2 working days on 1st February the court calls up the case again and says the earlier date (28-29 June) was “unsuitable to the court”.

Is it not ‪#‎preposterous‬ that a date set just 2 days earlier was suddenly found unsuitable?

‪Just‬ what is going on with this case? Previous adjournments were granted for reasons such as:
• unavailability or absence of magistrates
• Bala was busy with official duties
• magistrates attending workshops etc etc.

These are hardly good grounds for granting so many adjournments in a serious case where a life was taken.

The Court needs to remember that a grieving family is waiting for JUSTICE and closure while the principals involved engage in a game of truancy.

The Magistrate’s Court needs to explain to the people why the case keeps getting adjourned. This is highly irregular – it just doesn’t make sense.

People are asking questions:
• Why was Bala’s passport not taken by the Court as is invariably the case with others charged with serious offences? Or was this a special case?
• Why was he appointed Minister for Transport when he was facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving?
• Why was he visited by Khaiyum in hospital? Were any assurances given?
• Was the case deliberately dragged out to permit him to contest the elections? Why was he allowed to contest the elections even though disqualified by the Electoral Commission?
• Why is the DPP so slack in pursuing this matter to speedy trial?
Let’s get justice here.

We urge our people to rise in protest against this ‪travesty‬.