Indian held for drunken driving

According to The Age, the court on Friday heard the case of Riyaz Khoja who was driving a friend’s car when it smashed into a power pole.

During the hearing in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, police officer Robert Hay said Khoja drank beer at a park before he drove the five others into the city to buy more alcohol. Khoja then sped along Lygon Street at “a minimum speed of 114 km/hr” when he lost control of the car.

Hay said the force of the impact “almost tore the car into two”, killing 22-year-old Nihil Patel. He said none of the four injured passengers in the back seat were wearing seat belts.
Police officers found Khoja had a blood-alcohol content of 0.76 soon after the accident.
The court heard that Khoja had received 21 driving infringement notices while working as a taxi driver, and all of them remained unpaid despite the accused agreeing to a payment plan with the sherriff’s office.

In granting Khoja bail, Magistrate Gail Hubble said that, while the risk of flight was “there and troubling, it is not an unacceptable risk”.“He is a foreign national, he faces a jail term and that provides motivation for him to go home, but I can’t deny bail just because he is a foreign national,” Magistrate Hubble told the court.Khoja was ordered to surrender his passport.He will report to police three times a week until he returns to court on March 10, 2011.

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