Police have forwarded a case against the driver of a quad-bike that crashed and killed two passengers on Kuredu Island Resort to the Prosecutor General (PG)’s office.
The recently-married British 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, 2011. The pair had been married for just seven days and had a six-month old son, Jake.
Police subsequently identified the driver as 23 year-old Swedish national Filip Eugen Petre, the son of a shareholder of the company that operates the resort, who was employed by the company as a trainee guest relations officer.
Petre, who was injured in the crash, was charged under section 88 (d) of the penal code, Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News today. He confirmed that Petre was in the Maldives and was free to move about, “although his passport has been retained.”
The section cited broadly refers to “Disobedience to order authorised by Sharia or law”. Article (d) reads that “Where such disobedience resulted in the death of a person the offender shall be subjected to punishment described by Islamic Law.”
UK media reporting the charges have noted that the maximum extent of these punishments include the death penalty, however while this sentence is still given by the courts it is usually commuted to up to 25 years imprisonment and was last implemented in 1953: Hakim Didi, by firing squad, on charges of practicing black magic.
Several MPs in parliament, including Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Rasheed have previously submitted amendments to the relevant Clemency Act demanding that such sentences be carried out if upheld at Supreme Court level, however they have not been passed.
The prospect of Petre facing such a penalty was “shocking. It’s absolutely horrendous,” Jonathan’s mother Cath Davies told the Halifax Courier.
“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.
“It’s not like he set out to maliciously hurt or kill them. He never intended it. What happened was a tragic accident and not the result of wilful or malicious intention.”
Hearing of the charges had “brought back all the events that happened and what we have gone through since,” she said.
“We don’t want to keep revisiting these things. We want to move on and we want to remember Jay and Emma for the lovely couple they were and not always being brought back to the tragic event that ended their lives,” she said.
Following the incident in 2011, Filip’s father Lars Petre 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.
“The quad bike which my son was driving was registered and my son Filip is licensed to drive such vehicles. My son Filip and his brother Tom (who was the first to arrive at the scene of the accident with the doctor), the management and staff of Kuredhu have been cooperating with the police investigation fully, and I give every assurance that they will continue to do so in the future.
“We understand the grief of the families who lost their loved ones in the accident, and we also respect the duty of the Maldives Police Service to investigate the matter. However the fact remains that what happened on August 6 is an accident, a very tragic fatal event, which my son no anyone else had the power to change.”