THE public’s faith in the criminal justice system will have been renewed by Judge Rodney Jameson’s sharp rebuke of Kelly Lucas after the 34-year-old failed to undertake 250 hours unpaid work – her punishment for knocking down, and killing, elderly widower Jack Richardson while he walked to a cemetery to tend to his late wife’s grave. The 88-year-old pensioner had undertaken twice daily since her death in 2010.
“If you breach it again, somebody will lock you up,” the QC told Lucas before increasing her sentence to 300 hours community work and reminding her that she had been fortunate to keep her liberty after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.
Three lessons need learning. First, judges should always speak in language that will resonate with offenders rather than long-winded legalese which is less impactful.
Second, the Probation Service was alert to the driver’s non-compliance; ormally, it is this much-criticised agency in the dock for failing to enforce a court’s wishes. Third, many will conclude that motorists are still treated too leniently pver fatal accidents, and this case will give added credence to this view. As such, Ministers must keep the law under review – and that the courts must not hesitate to use the full powers already at their disposal. After all, too many lives are still lost each year because of irresponsible driving.
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