Dubai: The Omani driver of a bus involved in an accident on a Dubai road that killed 17 passengers in June has been released on bail, according to his lawyer.
The 53-year-old was charged with causing the wrongful death of 17 passengers and injuring 13 others, and was sentenced to seven years in jail plus ordered to pay Dh3.4 million in blood money to the victim’s families by the Dubai Traffic Court last month.
However, an appeal against the verdict has resulted in the defendant being granted bail.
“We appealed against the verdict and the judges approved our request to bail the man,” the driver’s lawyer Mohammad Al Tamimi told Gulf News.
“We explained to the court that the insurance company promised in a document to pay the blood money. We asked for a delay to prepare our defence,” he added.
The driver will keep his passport and another two passports will be used as a guarantee to grant his bail, the lawyer added.
Dubai Court of Appeal delayed the case until September to present the defence.
A tweet from Oman’s Embassy read: “The Oman Embassy in Abu Dhabi is pleased to announce that the Dubai Court of Appeal has agreed in a hearing today to bail Saeed Al Baloushi, the Omani bus driver for Oman Transport Agency, until a date is scheduled for the hearing of defence lawyers. The embassy appreciates the court’s decision.”
The Muscat-to-Dubai Mwasalat bus service struck an overhead height barrier at 94 km/h on June 6 at the turn off from Mohammad Bin Zayed Road leading onto Rashidiya Road, where it was due to make a scheduled stop at Rashidiya Metro. The driver took a wrong turn left not designated for buses which led to the height restriction, instead of going right.
According to Dubai Prosecution, there are two lanes for buses and taxis in the four-lane road leading to the entrance of Al Rashidiya Metro station. There are also flashing light signboards about 342 metres from the location of the accident to warn drivers of the upcoming height restriction, speed bumps, and two big signboards to warn drivers to stay in lane before the barrier.
After hitting the barrier at 94 km/h in an area with a 40 km/h speed limit, the bus stopped 44 metres away from the point of impact.
Twelve Indians, two Pakistanis, an Irish, Omani and Filipina, were killed in the accident.
The Dubai Traffic Court also ordered the driver be deported after serving his jail term, in addition to paying a Dh50,000 fine. His license was suspended for one year.