The train driver has been found guilty of homicide and unintentionally injuries and was set free today.
Rabat – The Court of First Instance in Sale has sentenced the train driver in the Bouknadel train accident to time served, five months and five days, and a fine of MAD 500.
The court announced the verdict on Tuesday, March 26.
Police arrested the driver, Laarbi Rich, following an investigation after the train he was driving derailed on October 16, 2018, near Bouknadel, north of Rabat.
Laarbi Rich was detained in prison on October 23, 2018, and prosecutors charged him with murder, accidental injuries, and driving the train over the speed limit.
The court president, El Malki Hizam, announced that Rich would only get a “time served” sentence equal to the time he had already spent in prison, five months and five days. Rich left the prison today.
Rich’s defence threatened previously to sue the government for detaining him, saying there was no evidence to convict him.
However, Rich was found guilty of homicide and unintentional injuries. The train derailment killed 7 people and left 125 injured.
The charges carried punishments between five months and five years in prison and a fine of MAD 250 to 1,000, as stipulated by Acts 432 and 433 of the criminal code.
The judge ordered medical examinations on the individuals injured before bringing a court case against the National Office of Railways (ONCF).
A number of doctors have been designated to carry out the medical examinations. They will also determine the duration of the survivors’ disability.
The judge has fixed April 26 as the deadline to submit the medical examinations. He also fixed May 7 as the date of the ONCF trial.
Rich’s defence blamed ONCF for not communicating with the driver and for not providing the train with automatic braking nor a display screen.
They also accused ONCF of breaching Article 58 of the criminal procedure code, arguing that some evidence was corrupted.