02:45PM, Monday 16 October 2017
Mark Hollands with a photograph of daughter Bryony Hollands
A proposal to jail for life drink-drivers who kill has been welcomed by a Cox Green man who lost his daughter to a motorist driving under the influence.
Mark Hollands lobbied Theresa May MP and urged her to quicken the progress of a review into sentencing for killer drivers.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation closed in February, and on Sunday it announced the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will rise from 14 years to life.
Mr Hollands’ 19-year-old daughter Bryony, a former Cox Green School pupil, was killed in August 2015 in Woodthorpe, near Nottingham.
Thomas Burney was sentenced to eight years in prison for causing the University of Sheffield student’s death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to her boyfriend, Ben Evans.
But Mr Hollands, a Cookham Parish Council clerk from Cox Green, believes he will only serve half of that.
“For too long, reckless drivers have escaped adequate punishment for the simple reason that the item with which they have killed or caused serious injury has been a motor vehicle,” Mr Hollands wrote to the Advertiser.
“Any killer wreaking devastation in a similarly reckless manner, but not with a motor vehicle, would face manslaughter charges and the possibility of a life sentence.
“Once this legislation is passed, that ultimate sanction of the courts will also apply to those who drive with disregard for the lives and wellbeing of others and wreck lives.
“However, we hope that first and foremost, the deterrent effect of stronger sentences will encourage drivers to act more responsibly and avoid causing the kind of tragedies that appear in the media on a far too regular basis.”
The consultation received 1,000 replies within three days when it was launched in December 2016.
Justice minister Dominic Raab MP said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation.
“Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.”
The MoJ said the ‘vast majority’ of responses to the consultation agreed with raising the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink and drugs to life.
The maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving will also increase from 14 years to life, and a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will also be created.
Legislation needed for the proposals to go ahead will be ‘brought forward as soon as parliamentary time allows’, according to the Ministry of Justice.
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