Sentencing in the Simons' Bristol Tandem death case

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  • Sentencing in the Simons' Bristol Tandem death case
  • Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    Is there any reason why he couldn’t have been charged with manslaughter anyway?

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Is there any reason why he couldn’t have been charged with manslaughter anyway?

    Presumably there is a reason the D by DD offence exists, and CPS use the one most explicitly applicable.

    Why does the offence exist?

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    Have to say the CPS website iis one of the best .gov sites Ive ever used.

    It does say that:

    Referral of Fatal Collision/Manslaughter Cases

    Where a prosecutor is of the view that there may be sufficient evidence to warrant full consideration of a charge of gross negligence manslaughter, these cases should be referred to the relevant Complex Casework Unit (see the Homicide: Murder and Manslaughter Guidance).

    Its hard to see where this case fails any part of the tests for charging with gross negligence manslaughter:

    a four stage test for gross negligence manslaughter known as the Adomako Test was outlined by the House of Lords:

    The test involves the following stages:

    a) the existence of a duty of care to the deceased;
    b) a breach of that duty of care which;
    c) causes (or significantly contributes) to the death of the victim; and
    d) the breach should be characterised as gross negligence, and therefore a crime.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-22621623

    Sentence handed out yesterday. Driver (Cox Lovell) gets 10yrs 6 months.

    From CPS it appears that Death by Dangerous Driving has a maximum sentence of 15 yrs and under the Sentencing General Principles Cox Lovell will have had the benefit of either a 1/3 reduction in that for a first opportunity admission of guilt, or 1/4 reduction after been given a court date. The news report doesn’t say, and the admission of guilt in court reported in April doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t admit guilt earlier I guess.

    Either way, it’s a pretty full sentence reflecting the level of the offence.

    I see though that the family intend to campaign for higher sentence limits. Do we think that, say, having a maximum sentence of Life (as manslaughter – classed as a homicide – does) will make it more or less likely that judges will impose longer sentences than they can now?

    As it is, the death by dangerous driving sentence limit was raised from 10 to 15 in 2004 – I didnt know that.

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/death_by_dangerous_driving/
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_-_general_principles/index.html#a17

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Well, if nothing else the sentence looks heavy & might hopefully be the start of some more appropriate levels of sentencing against motorists when it comes to accidents involving cyclists..

    Sentencing looks appropriate given the circumstances of the case.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    The average sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 4 years.

    I’m not sure that this is an indication of what can be generally expected for a sentence for this charge in future, partially due to the circumstances, and partially due to the nature of the defendants.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    In a way I’m pleasantly surprised by the length of the sentence – but then given the aggravating factors and previous conviction the judge would have been completely failing in his duty to give anything less.

    Like others I’m baffled as to why drivers can’t be convicted of manslaughter in cases like this – D by DD is surely intended for where there is insufficient evidence for a manslaughter charge, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. Has the system got to the point where killing somebody using a car doesn’t even get considered for an upgrade to that?

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