F1 track intruder asks to return to jail after hearing

Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia went back to prison last Friday after a hearing, hoping that if he gets a jail sentence, it will be backdated.
Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia went back to prison last Friday after a hearing, hoping that if he gets a jail sentence, it will be backdated.

The Briton who walked on the race track during last month's Formula One Grand Prix went back to prison voluntarily last Friday, a move that would reduce an anticipated jail term.

Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia, 27, requested to return to remand after a pre-trial hearing that day.

His lawyer, Mr Jeremy Mark Pereira, told The Sunday Times that Dhokia wants to return to Britain "as soon as possible".

"If he is looking at a jail term, it will be backdated to Friday," said Mr Pereira.

Going back to remand will mean a shorter jail time for Dhokia, who was arrested on Sept 20, as the jail term will effectively start on Oct 16 if he is sentenced to jail.

"He told us he thought about it, he wants to go back into remand and just wants to go back to the UK as soon as possible," said the lawyer.

Legal experts familiar with the case told the Agence France- Presse news agency that apart from shortening any jail term, cash-strapped Dhokia would also be saving on accommodation and food expenses in the two weeks before his next hearing on Nov 3.

Dhokia was released on his own personal bond of $15,000 two weeks ago. He had already spent 10 days in remand after his arrest during the Sept 20 race on the floodlit street circuit.

He is accused of acting rashly to endanger the safety of the F1 drivers involved in the race near Turn 13 in Esplanade Drive at about 9pm on Sept 20 by crossing the track while the race was in progress.

If convicted, Dhokia could be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,500.

His lawyer said that he will seek a shorter prison sentence.

"This is a bit hard to predict, because it is the first case of its kind," Mr Pereira said. "I'm sure the prosecution would not want a repeat of this. If he just gets a fine, next year, any Tom, Dick and Harry will be going on the track and getting off with a fine."

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2015, with the headline 'F1 track intruder asks to return to jail after hearing'. Print Edition | Subscribe