Tyrone Architect Peter Dolan is today backing our new campaign for stiffer sentences after a speeding drunk driver with previous convictions got only 3.5 years in jail for mounting the kerb and killing his ‘model’ son Enda in Belfast in 2014.
Over 350 people convicted of killing or grievously injuring others on Northern Ireland roads have walked free from court in the last six years, with nobody being given a maximum 10 to 14 year sentence since at least 2009, our investigation can reveal.
Today the i newspaper and sister titles across the UK, including the News Letter, highlight what many victims across the UK often see as unduly lenient sentencing for killer drivers.
The News Letter is joining with sister Johnston Press titles across the UK to campaign in support of Mr Dolan and others like him in the quest for fairer sentences.
Stormont Department of Justice figures reveal what many families in Northern Ireland (and across the UK) see as the disparity between the often brutal and remorseless way their loved ones are killed and what they feel are often unduly lenient sentences handed down in response.
Mr Dolan wonders what someone has to do to get the full 14 years sentence. “This is whole point of my quest for justice,” he said. He wants to a maximum sentence of 20 years.
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Gary Rae of road safety charity Brake, said: “The law needs to change so sentencing fits the crime.”
Drive For Justice is seeking to give families affected by the anguish of road deaths as a result of reckless and criminal driving a voice to bring about change and better justice.
WHAT WE ARE LOBBYING FOR
Our campaign aims to:
- Call on the Government to re-work sentencing guidelines and give judges specialist training so they can use the full powers that are available to them when deciding sentences for offenders
- To have tougher sentences for the worst offenders
- Have all culpable deaths treated as manslaughter
- See more and longer driving bans handed out to those who kill or seriously injure on the roads or risk injury and death
- Close the loopholes that exist such as with hit and runs where failure to stop carries a maximum of six months in prison but drink driving penalties are tougher, meaning those who have been drink driving can get a lesser sentence if they flee.
- Look at the charges of Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving. Bereaved families feel “careless” undermines the severity of the offence when someone is killed or seriously injured by illegal and risky behaviour.