Delivering the verdict on the death of a four year old girl who was forgotten inside a school bus last year, the Seeb Primary Court has declared the bus driver and its supervisor guilty of causing death due to negligence and awarded them jail terms.
The bus driver has been sentenced to three months in jail and fined RO300, and the supervisor handed a six-month prison term with an RO500 fine. The supervisor has also been ordered to serve an additional ten days in jail and pay RO5 more for violating administrative rules.
The incident was first reported by Muscat Daily on September 20, 2011. On September 18, 2011, Alma Malik al Amry, a student of Al Halail School in Al Khoudh, had fallen asleep on her way to school and was forgotten inside the bus while other children disembarked. She was found only at 11.30am when the woman driver went back to the bus to collect children from the school. Alma died before she was brought to Al Khoudh Health Centre at around 12.45pm.
“On March 26, the Primary Court in Seeb sentenced the driver and supervisor to three and six months in jail, respectively. They were also fined RO300 and RO500,” a Public Prosecution official said.
“The court has ordered the driver to pay ten per cent of the compensation amount fixed for the family of the child. The rest will be paid by the supervisor and the school,” the official added.
While the driver was an employee of a private firm contracted for transport services, the supervisor was on the school's rolls.
Fadhila al Khalasi, the child's mother, refused to comment on the verdict. But she told Muscat Daily that strict measures need to be in place to enforce regulations and guidelines on transportation of children. “I request the Ministry of Education to take proper measures to ensure the safety of our children while they commute to and from schools,” she said.
The Al Halail School management said it respected the verdict. “Our school is very strict when it comes to taking care of children,” a senior school official said. “What happened last year might be a case of personal irresponsibility.”