Barry Cozier, 36, says this is why he did not have his belt on when he was stopped by a policeman on the Gasparillo flyover on April 1.

Cozier gave this defence to senior magistrate Siemungal Ramsaran when he appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court, yesterday, to answer the charge of driving without wearing his seatbelt. Driving without a seatbelt on is a breach of Section 43 ( c ) of the Motor Vehicle Road Traffic Act.

A policeman issued the ticket to Cozier when he observed the man driving without his seatbelt on, on April 1, at about 4.15 pm, on the Gasparillo flyover. Cozier was about to approach an exit.

The $1,000 ticket was to be paid within 14 days of the date of issue. Cozier did not pay the fine and was summoned to the Traffic Court, San Fernando yesterday.

The man pleaded guilty but asked the magistrate to allow him to tell the story of why he does not wear his seatbelt.

Cozier explained the seatbelt cannot be pulled over his huge stomach to be clipped to the lever of the driver’s seat.

“Is that true?” Ramsaran asked.

Cozier answered, “Yes, is true.”

Wanting to see for himself, Ramsaran asked Cozier where he had parked his car. The man replied he had left it on Harris Promenade.

Ramsaran then instructed Cozier to leave the court and to go and drive the car to the front of the magistrates’ court building where MTS security officers would allow him to park on the road.

The magistrate adjourned the sitting and went out to the street with police prosecutor, Acting Sgt Harricharan, to meet Cozier.

Cozier then sat in the driver’s seat and pulled the seatbelt across his waist for the magistrate to see. The seatbelt could not extend over his waist to be fastened to the lever.

Satisfied with what he had seen, Ramsaran, the police prosecutor and Cozier went back inside the court where the magistrate resumed the sitting.

Cozier stood before the magistrate.

Ramsaran said it was clear that Cozier would not be able to drive comfortably if he forced the seatbelt over his stomach to buckle it.

The magistrate told Cozier he can apply for an exemption from wearing a seatbelt. The magistrate also offered to provide a written record that Cozier could not wear the seatbelt on the ground that he was obese. Cozier later told Newsday his waist measures 64 inches.

Cozier was reprimanded and discharged under Section 71 of the Summary Offences Act.



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