/ Only 12 months jail time if you kill a cyclist!??

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ByEek - on 17 Apr 2014
I am generally reluctant to jerk my knee when supposedly lenient sentences are handed out, but only having to serve 1 year in prison for killing two cyclists whilst driving 70mph in a 30mph zone - whilst 2.5 times over the drink drive limit - in a stolen car - whilst banned and without insurance and having taken cocaine in the 24 hours before the accident, is kind of taking the p1ss!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-27047171

I appreciate he actually got one year for each of the 7 offences he was charged with, but being allowed to serve them concurrently surely makes a mockery of such a sentence?

My deepest sympathies lie with the two partners and seven children who have had their worlds destroyed by this brainless idiot.
Enty - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:

Where's your empathy dude. He obviously comes from a broken home with an alky dad. Give him a break!!!
E
JCurrie - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:
Doesn't the story say that he was sentenced to ten years and three months for killing the cyclists, and then a year for each of the other offences to run concurrently with the first?
One, or both, of us is confused.
Jase

Edit: it says the ten year sentence was for dangerous driving. I wonder if that was actually death by dangerous driving?
Post edited at 09:21
cb_6 - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:

I think you've misinterpreted it, looks like the 12 months concurrently is just for the less serious offences. Sounds like he still got 10 years for the most serious offences of killing the two men.
ByEek - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to cb_6:

I think you are right! Doh!

Can I rant anyway? :-)
Enty - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:
>

> Can I rant anyway? :-)

Yes - 10 years for that is pathetic.

E
Post edited at 09:24
Trangia - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:

10 years seems to be the norm for causing death by dangerous driving, which means he will be out in 5 years if he behaves himself.

Being able to serve the other 7 years concurrently is, I agree, a mockery.

He should have got 17 years with no remission.
ow arm - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to ByEek)
>
> Where's your empathy dude. He obviously comes from a broken home with an alky dad. Give him a break!!!
>

How do you know his dad was alkaline?

I initially was disgusted but then yes after reading it will be 10 yrs.
Will it make any difference though? Just going off presumption but he probably did come from a crap background, hopefully he might get some education whilst in jail, but still his employment opportunities afterwards are not going to be great, so might just end up in the same situation again?
Tim Chappell - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:
Rant away :-) Here's my rant...

When a driver kills some other road user it is catastrophic for *everybody* involved, including the culprit. An incident like this smashes up every life it touches.

Nothing can put that right. No length of prison sentence can do it. Our society's obsession with banging up bad people who do monstrous things for as long as possible is understandable in some ways. But it's not an intelligent response to the problem, and it puts pressure on judges, poor dears, to make bad decisions about sentencing.

The old saying is that prevention is better than cure. I think that's true in general. I think it's particularly true in cases where there *is* no cure. And like I say, punitively long imprisonment is not a cure for criminal stupidity and recklessness on the road.

What we need is enforcement of driving bans, and pro-active policing on the roads looking out for people who are driving like idiots *before* something appalling happens. We need a general education policy about just how vulnerable cyclists are. We need to let (and encourage) cyclists to ride in pelotons if they want to, to protect themselves. We need more segregated cycle lanes and tracks.

All of that (and whatever else we can think of) will help. Sending people to prison for longer won't help a bit. By the time we are sentencing them it is already far too late.

The only legal change I would like to see is the removal from the statute books of the offence "causing death by dangerous driving". Causing death by dangerous driving IS MANSLAUGHTER. It's not something else.

The only other thing to say is, my heart goes out to the victims and their families.

Rant over :-)
Post edited at 09:35
Enty - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

I disagree about sentencing Tim. If this guy got 25 years that would be 25 years where he could do no more damage to anyone but himself.

A better example whould be burglars. We see time and time again burglars getting 18 months when it's their 100th offence. 25 years for the first one and that's 99 offences never comitted. You can bet the burglary rates would plummet.

E
1poundSOCKS - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Whilst he's in jail, he can't get drunk and drive a car, and potentially kill somebody else.

MG - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

.

> Nothing can put that right. No length of prison sentence can do it.

That's not the purpose of prison.

But it's not an intelligent response to the problem,

Depends if they are likely to do it again. I would have thought someone as irresponsible as this would be quite likely to kill someone else in similar manner - probably more so than most murderers. So a long prison sentence is, perhaps, appropriate.
Martin W on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to cb_6:

> Sounds like he still got 10 years for the most serious offences of killing the two men.

Sounds to me like he got off rather lightly. The maximum sentence for a level 1 offence, defined by the CPS as "driving that involved a deliberate decision to ignore (or a flagrant disregard for) the rules of the road and an apparent disregard for the great danger being caused to others", is fourteen years. Reference: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/death_by_dangerous_driving/

The maximum sentence was raised from ten year in 2004. The CPS say: "Level 1 is that for which the increase in maximum penalty was aimed primarily." They go on to say: "Where an offence involved both of the determinants of seriousness identified, particularly if accompanied by aggravating factors such as multiple deaths or injuries, or a very bad driving record, this may move an offence towards the top of the sentencing range." Multiple deaths: check. Very bad driving record: check (he was disqualified, you don't get that for parking violations). The "two determinants of seriousness" are a prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad driving and consumption of substantial amounts of alcohol or drugs leading to gross impairment. Looks like he's bang to rights on the second point. If driving a stolen car at up to 70 in a 30 limit doesn't meet the first criterion then I'd like to know what does.

None of the mitigating factors listed by the CPS seem to apply, while at least one of the aggravating factors (Other offences committed at the same time, such as driving other than in accordance with the terms of a valid licence; driving while disqualified; driving without insurance; taking a vehicle without consent; driving a stolen vehicle) clearly does. (Does being convicted for specific offences which are listed as aggravating factors confuse the sentencing for the main offence?)

I wonder whether the CPS have considered appealing against the sentence?

As to whether it should be manslaughter, these web pages have some pertinent background:
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=17528
http://www.murdermap.co.uk/pages/blog_01/blog_item.asp?Blog_01ID=239

From that second link, the CPS own words on the subject are:

Gross negligence manslaughter should not be charged unless there is something to set the case apart from one where one of the statutory offences [death by dangerous driving etc] can be proved. This will normally be evidence to show a very high risk of death, making the case one of the utmost gravity.

As a matter of law it is more difficult to prove an offence of gross negligence manslaughter than it is to prove an offence of causing death by dangerous driving. It is not necessary to have evidence of an obvious and serious risk of death to prove an offence of causing death by dangerous driving. All that is required is evidence that the driving was dangerous and that the driving caused the death of another person.


One might be tempted to ask: if driving at 70 in 30 limit while 2.5 times over the blood alcohol limit doesn't "show a very high risk of death", then what does?
The New NickB - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to Enty:

> Yes - 10 years for that is pathetic.

> E

I think the maximum for that crime is 14, which he probably should have got.
Ridge - on 17 Apr 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Have to disagree with you re: the effect on the culprit. Yes, if you or I were to kill someone through our own negligence we'd be devastated. Call me cynical, but I suspect people who get pissed and coked up, deliberately steal a car then drive it like a lunatic probably don't give a toss about anyone else.
Trevers - on 18 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:

A minor rant here:

It's always reported as 'causing deaths'. Nope, it's 'killing'. There isn't a degree of separation.
off-duty - on 18 Apr 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> All of that (and whatever else we can think of) will help. Sending people to prison for longer won't help a bit. By the time we are sentencing them it is already far too late.

I think the relevant part of the article is :-
"Reading Crown Court heard he had appeared in court on 14 occasions over 67 offences. He had been disqualified from driving for four years in 2010. "

Perhaps if he had been more effectively sentenced earlier, we wouldn't be faced with two dead cyclists now.

67 offences (Sadly not an unusual high number on the records of our usual customers)
off-duty - on 18 Apr 2014
In reply to Martin W:

> Sounds to me like he got off rather lightly. ....

> The maximum sentence was raised from ten year in 2004. The CPS say: ...

> None of the mitigating factors listed by the CPS seem to apply, while at least one of the aggravating factors ...

> I wonder whether the CPS have considered appealing against the sentence?

14 year maximum sentence. Up to a third off for early guilty plea (dependent on when exactly the plea came in/how good his defence brief is at arguing).
14 years = 168 months. Minus 1/3 reduction = 112 months = sentence => 9 years and 4 months.
(Subtracting any time he might have spent on remand or on a curfew)

So I can't see an appeal against sentence, unfortunately.
captain paranoia - on 20 Apr 2014
In reply to ByEek:

That's the case I spotted a few weeks back:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=580406&v=1#x7695499

At least it resulted in a custodial sentence, and not a mere community service order:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-24240127
ads.ukclimbing.com
captain paranoia - on 20 Apr 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> What we need is enforcement of driving bans

Well, I agree with that wholeheartedly; I'd estimate that 25% of drivers shouldn't be allowed to, as they are either mentally or temperamentally incapable of driving a vehicle safely.

But, if we get rid of custodial sentences, what sanction are we going to take against those who drive whilst banned...? Another ineffective ban? Which seems to be what happens at the moment; violation of driving bans isn't taken seriously.

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