DRIVERS in Britain who kill someone in the most serious cases of dangerous and careless driving will now face life sentences. That will include those using their mobile phone while driving.
Announcing the change, British justice minister Dominic Raab said: “We intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.” It will apply to offences in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland.
The decision has received mixed responses in Britain and should give us pause for thought in Ireland. While extremely harsh, it at least brings a degree of certainty to sentencing in the most serious cases of driving causing death. The Irish Court of Appeal offers no guidelines on sentencing and there have been a number of cases where jail sentences imposed on drivers who kill have been reduced on appeal.
It may be draconian, but a life sentence has a certain logic to it — after all that is the sentence imposed on the bereaved family and those left behind.
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