The Prosecutor General’s Office (PG) has pressed ‘disobedience to order’ charges against 23 year-old Swedish national Filip Eugen Petre, the driver of the King Quad 700 that crashed into a tree and caused the death of a tourist couple honeymooning at Kuredu Island Resort last year.
The first hearing of the case was held in the Criminal Court yesterday.
Petre’s lawyer Areef Ahmed contended that his client could not be charged under Islamic Sharia because his client is non-Muslim, local newspapers reported.
State Attorney Ahmed Nashid told the court that every soul was protected under Islamic Sharia and that Petre was charged for disobedience to order because it was a case involving two deaths.
Nashid also contended that under Islamic Sharia, if an offender’s action caused the death of a person, the offender shall be punished.
He told the judge that the crime Petre was accused of committing was carrying people on a vehicle which was not intended to carry passengers, and that his criminal actions started from that moment.
Judge Abdul Baary Yousuf asked Areef to explain this action of his client, to which Areef replied that this was the normal procedure at the resort.
The judge told Areef that he was not asking about the procedures of the resort, but was asking whether his client had acted right in the incident.
The judge kept repeating the question to Areef, and said that one’s disobedience was not a reason for others to disobey.
Areef then told the judge that he need time to answer the question.
According to Article 88 of the Penal Code, disobedience to order is a crime and According to Article 88[c], if the result of violating the article resulted a death, the case shall be dealt with according to Islamic Sharia.
While this can include the death penalty, in practice the Maldives commutes this to up to 20 years imprisonment.
The young tourist couple from West Yorkshire, Emma and Jonathan Gray, were riding on the quad-bike as passengers when it collided with a tree around 4:00am on August 6.
On August 6 last year police were informed by resort management at 4:15am that two guests had been found with injuries beside one of the resort’s roads
A statement from police that day stated that a third individual, later identified as Petre, was injured in the incident and was taken to hospital.
Jonathan’s mother Cath Davies recently told the Halifax Courier that the prospect of Petre facing the death penalty was “shocking. It’s absolutely horrendous,”
“We never expected there to be an outcome like this. It’s good they have dealt with it. It’s great they have investigated it properly. But I wouldn’t want it to be carried out. It’s not going to bring Jay and Emma back. It’s not going to make us feel any better. It doesn’t seem right. I just find it quite abhorrent,” she told the paper.
Following the incident in 2011, Filip’s father Lars Petre, a shareholder in the resort, provided a statement to Minivan News in which he described the accident as “by far the most tragic event in my life, and words cannot describe how saddened we are. I and my family are deeply concerned with errors on some of the media reports and we are also deeply saddened by some accusations made at my son.”
“My son Filip Petre (23 years) was taking the two guests home, to the other side of the island, when he experienced some difficulties with the bike, and crashed headlong into a tree on the road. The crash took two lives and badly injured my son.
“He fell unconscious with the crash and woke up some time later to find the two deceased also lying on the road. He immediately called for help and worked alongside with the doctor who arrived to try and save the victims of the crash, while he was bleeding himself.
Another British national, 42-year old Sharon Duval, died on Kuredu in October 2010, also while honeymooning with her husband, after her body was found on the beach by another guest.