Student sentenced to 11 months in prison for hit and run accident in north Cyprus

A man was sentenced to 11 months in prison by a north Cyprus court on Monday over an accident that left two people injured.

The case against the defendant, IOA, a Nigerian student in north Cyprus was decided by the Lefkosia district court on Monday, Feb. 12.

Reading the decision, the judge stated that on November 13, 2023, the defendant hit two cyclists, 36-year-old Berkal Volkan and 46-year-old Nurettin Ulvi, on the Lefkcosia - Kyrenia main road, and fled the scene of the incident without waiting. 

The judge stated that the defendant, who was detected and arrested 6 hours after the accident, stated in his statement that he heard a crash, and when he looked at the vehicle, he noticed that the rearview mirror and the hoods were damaged, but he did not know what he hit.

The judge stated that the defendant went to a bar in Kyrenia at around 1:00am before the accident, drank 70 shots of champagne and 2 tequilas, and set out to come to Lefkosia with two people at around 6:30am. He said he left the car at the body shop for repair.

The judge noted that in the alcohol test performed on the defendant, who was caught six hours after the accident, 195 promil alcohol was detected in the first and 185 promil alcohol in the second, and said that this was 4 times the legal limit.

The judge said that Berkal Volkan was not recovering, that he could not meet his basic needs on his own, and that he received physical therapy 5 days a week while Nurettin Ulvi could not work for 2 months after the accident and suffered financial loss.

Referring to the increase in traffic accidents, the judge stated that the driving of foreign nationals who do not know the country's roads, violating the traffic rules, causes concern.

"Our roads are no longer safe" and pointed out that traffic rule violations have become increasingly normalized.

In the case before him, the judge stated that the defendant was drunk and disregarded human life, hit the road like a traffic monster, did not stop at the scene of the accident and ran away, tried to erase the traces of the accident by giving his car to the body shop instead of helping the injured, and also stated that although he was tested 6 hours after the accident, he was found to have 185 promil alcohol in his body. The judge considered all these issues as aggravating factors against him.

The judge stated that the complainants were compensated and withdrew their complaint and said, "Withdrawal of the complaint only affects the case of "causing an accident resulting in serious injury" in which the defendant is being tried. "Since the "drunk driving" case in which the defendant is being tried is a matter of public interest, I find it appropriate not to take into account the withdrawal of the complaint in this case," he said.

The judge stated that he also took into consideration the fact that the defendant was a student and had no criminal record, and that he sentenced the defendant to 11 months in prison, taking into account the principle of deterrent punishment.

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