Three of the six defendants charged over the death of Bangladesh citizen Rawshan Jian, 9, in a construction accident on December 16, 2018, plead guilty to the charges at court this Thursday morning.
The construction accident took place at a site contracted to W Construction, M. Nalahiya Manzil, and occurred when a sack of cement being hoisted to a top floor of the building fell down, hitting Rawshan Jian, who has walking on the street below with her mother, Farzana Hussain.
Six people have been charged over Rawshan Jian’s death; the Managing Director of W Construction, senior site supervisor of W Construction, and four migrant workers employed at W Construction.
All six defendants were present at the preliminary hearing in the case held at Criminal Court this Thursday morning.
The trial is presided over by Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain.
THREE DEFENDANTS PLEAD GUILTY
State prosecutor, Fathimath Nabaha read the charges against the six defendants at the hearing, and three of the defendants entered a plea of guilty.
Those who plead guilty were Indian citizens employed by W Construction. They are:
Rajjav Ali was charged with negligence resulting in death of a person. He was the worker operating the wrench used to hoist the cement sacks.
Speaking with the assistance of a translator, Rajjav Ali conceded that the State’s charge against him was true, but explained that he had no malicious intent to cause anyone any harm by his actions.
Prosecutor Nabaha said that the State did not need to prove malicious intent to prove the charge against him, and asked the judge to consider his statement as an admission of guilt.
Judge Ali Rasheed determined in favor of the prosecution and took Rajjav’s statement as a plea of guilt.
His guilty plea means he will be sentenced to four years and six months in prison, as opposed to six years in prison if he had entered a plea of innocence and been found guilty of the charge by court.
Muthamari Ramachandhran was charged as an accessory to negligence resulting in death of a person. He was the worker stationed at the street who signaled Rajjav Ali to hoist the cement sacks up.
His guilty plea means he will be sentenced to two years, four months and 24 days in prison, as opposed to three years, two months and 12 days in prison if he had entered a plea of innocence and been found guilty of the charge by the court.
Ramachandhran also sought the assistance of a translator as he speaks only Tamil. He was quick to enter the guilty plea once the translator explained the charge against him, and the reduction in his sentence if he plead guilty.
Kechahilal Chauhaan was charged with failure to issue prior warning to a person under imminent danger. He was one of the workers stationed at the street outside, who failed to warn Rawshan Jian and her mother of the danger.
His guilty plea means he will be sentenced to 27 days in prison, as opposed to one month and six days in prison if he had entered a plea of innocence and been found guilty of the charge by court.
Speaking at the hearing, Chauhaan conceded the charge against him was true. He, too, confessed his guilt and sought a lesser sentence.
Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain determined the guilty pleas of the three defendants to be valid and scheduled their sentencing hearing for next Monday in order to facilitate swift justice.
Criminal Procedure Code requires sentences to be issued within a five-day period for defendants who enter the guilty plea.
THOSE WHO ENTERED PLEA OF INNOCENCE
Gullaam Mohamed, an Indian citizen employed by W Construction who was stationed at the street outside at the time of the construction accident, was charged with failure to issue prior warning to a person under imminent danger – the same charge as Kechahilal Chauhaan.
However, Gullam maintained his innocence in the death of Rawshan Jian, and entered a plea of innocence.
Managing Director of W Construction, Adam Shafeeq and Senior Site Supervisor at W Construction, Moosa Hassan were both charged with negligence resulting in death of a person over lack of necessary safety precautions at the site.
They face a minimum sentence of one year, seven months and six days in prison if found guilty of the charge. They waived a lesser sentence of one year and 12 days in prison by not entering plea of guilty.
Adam Shafeeq and Moosa Hassan attended the hearing without attorneys. They entered plea of innocence, and asked for time to hire attorneys.
EVIDENCE AND EYE WITNESSES
Prosecutor Nabaha read the list of witnesses against the three defendants who entered plea of innocence at court this Thursday.
The prosecution has 24 witnesses against Gullam Mohamed, including Rawshan Jian’s mother and father.
The prosecution has 31 witnesses and documental evidence against both Adam Shafeeq and Moosa Hassan. They include the analysis report of the construction site, medical reports which detail Rawshan Jian’s injuries, and multiple expert witnesses.
The death of Rawshan Jian shocked the nation into waking up to the danger of slack safety precautions at construction sites. Rawshan Jian’s family, during a press conference earlier this year, pleaded the entire nation for justice.