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Non-custodial sentence for cyclo driver behind fatal accident in Hanoi

Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 15:00 GMT+7

The cyclo driver responsible for the death of a nine-year-old Hanoi boy in a fatal steel sheet collision last year has received a non-custodial reformative punishment.

The ruling was made at a Monday afternoon session of the People’s Court of Hoang Mai District in Hanoi, which tried Dinh Ngoc Thach, 52, for violation of road traffic regulations that led to a fatality.

Thach was the cyclo driver behind the tragic accident on September 23, 2016, in which a nine-year-old boy’s throat was cut after he crashed into Thach’s parked cyclo which was carrying sharp-edged steel sheets used for roofing.

Cyclos are three-wheeled, human-powered vehicles used for transporting goods and people in Vietnam.

The boy later died at the hospital from massive blood loss due to the cut to his carotid artery.

Thach was shortly detained and prosecuted by Hoang Mai District Police on charges of violating road traffic regulations due to the serious consequences of his otherwise incidental mistake, police said.

At Monday’s court session, Thach received six months of non-custodial reformative punishment, according to which he will be allowed to go free on condition that his movements are monitored by local authorities during the period.

Ông Thạch tại phiên toà - Ảnh: Thân Hoàng

Dinh Ngoc Thach during a session of the People’s Court of Hoang Mai District in Hanoi, March 27, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The ruling was welcomed by all those present at the court, including members of the victim’s family and friends of the former Vietnamese soldier.

The boy’s parents had sent a letter to the relevant authorities requesting that Thach be exempt from criminal liability upon learning of his prosecution.

Thach was a soldier who fought in defense of Vietnam’s northern borders against the Chinese invaders in 1979.

He is known amongst his friends and former comrades as ‘humpbacked Binh’ due to the kyphosis condition he carries caused by years of lying on the cold ground during his military service.

Thach’s military friends, including one who had lost an arm and an eye during the war, were all present at court to wish the best for their long-time comrade.

They had previously donated VND130 million (US$5,800) for Thach to pay compensation to the victim’s family.

Thach’s wife Le Thi Phuong said there had not been a day since the accident that Thach had been able to forgive himself for the tragedy he had inflicted upon the boy and his parents.

“[The boy]’s death at such a young age was a tremendous tragedy and loss for his family,” a judge said in his statement on Monday. “However, as it was incidental and unintentional, the victim’s parents have overcome their pain to request mitigation for the cyclo driver, which is an act of remarkable empathy. This case is a great example of humanity.”

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