03:29PM, Wednesday 30 September 2020
A police officer who lost his leg after a drink-driver crashed into his vehicle has criticised the ‘broken’ justice system after the offender was moved to an open prison.
Hayden Brown, who is serving a five-year prison sentence, has been moved to open prison after 10 months, meaning he is now eligible for release under temporary licence.
In September 2018, drink-driver Brown crashed a silver Ford Focus into Sgt Dorman’s patrol car, causing him to lose the lower part of his left leg.
Sgt Dorman’s colleague, PC Wai-man Lam was also injured and left with post-traumatic stress disorder, and one of Brown’s passengers, Anilah ‘Annie’ Butt, was left with 24 broken bones.
Brown was sentenced at Reading Crown Court in December 2019 after a jury found him guilty of three counts of causing injury by dangerous driving, one count of driving a vehicle while over the prescribed limit of alcohol and one count of driving without insurance.
Upon hearing that Brown was being moved to an open prison, Sgt Dorman said: “Where is the justice for the victim? I am absolutely disgusted to find out that Hayden Brown has been already moved to an open prison and will now be allowed to be temporarily released on licence.
“He’s served 10 months of a five-year sentence. What an insult. The justice system is broken and failing victims of crime.
“How can the system be so fundamentally flawed that his actions effectively sentenced myself, my crew mate and his passenger to a lifetime of punishment, but he gets to leave prison months later?
“How is this protecting our protectors and creating a culture where criminals who harm officers face the full consequences for their actions?”
In response to the news, Matthew Barber, deputy police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley, wrote an open letter to the justice secretary Robert Buckland asking him to look into the case.
It says: “Given the circumstances of the case, where an individual’s reckless behaviour very nearly cost the lives of two on-duty police officers and resulted in a permanent disability for one of them it seems incredible that the offender should serve less than one fifth or their sentence in a closed prison.
“I would ask you to use your good offices to look into this case, not just because of the obvious feeling of injustice that many feel as a result of this, but as an example of the wider concerns that many have about the effectiveness of our criminal justice system.”
A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Justice said: “Drink drivers ruin lives which is why we are introducing tougher sentences so they feel the full force of the law.
“Offenders in category D (open) jails face strict conditions and can be returned to closed prison if they breach them.”
She added that offenders in open prisons have been risk-assessed before they are moved.
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