Indian-origin trucker gets bail

gday india

Melbourne, March 6:  An Indian-origin truck driver in Melbourne, who was charged with killing four members of a family in a road accident, was granted bail by a court despite police objection that he would flee the country.

Police opposed Jobandeep Gill’s bail in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on the grounds that Gill was in Australia on a temporary bridging visa and would attempt to flee in the manner Puneet  did five years ago while on bail, using a friend’s passport.

Puneet is accused of killing a person and critically injuring another in 2008 when he crashed a car he was driving drunk.

He is now facing trial in a New Delhi court.

In the hearing, police told the court that Gill might use his brother’s passport to flee as the two men are similar in appearance.

But Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen said police and prosecutors have failed to produce any evidence in their opposition to bail.

He said any suggestion that Gill would flee to India was “fanciful”.

The prosecution argued that Gill should be denied bail because of the risk of fleeing and the serious nature of the charges against him.

Defence lawyer Abdullah Altintop told the court that Gill has ties to the community, as he was married to an Australian citizen and has applied for permanent residency.

Gill, 27, is charged with four counts of culpable driving, causing death following a Feb 28 crash in Catani area, southeast of Melbourne.

Gill ran a stop sign and crashed his truck into a car, which burst into flames and resulted in the deaths of four members of a family.

The Beckett family lived in the small town of Poowong, 111 km from Melbourne, with Stephen and his wife Jade working in a dairy.

The incident has devastated the small local community.

“It was very difficult for everybody and to know that a whole family has been wiped out, all but one, in a situation like that,” Bill Loughridge, co-owner of the farm where the Becketts worked.

“Well, it has devastated all our workers,” he said.