My heart goes out to the young boy who was the unfortunate victim of a hit and run incident with a motorcycle being ridden off road in Rosemead Playing Fields in East Hull. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma that he and his parents, who were with their son at the time, would have experienced. I have spoken with the area’s Chief Inspector Lee Edwards and I am told that the 9-year-old boy is very bravely recovering in Hull Royal Infirmary and his parents are being assisted by Police specialised family liaison officers. 24-year-old Cawkwell is to appear before Hull Magistrates Court today for offences including ‘Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving’.
In 2011, I campaigned for that new offence to be introduced by amending the Road Traffic Act 1988 and introduced a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament. This offence now allows the court to pass a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment rather than a maximum 2 years under the previous offence of Dangerous Driving. I am relieved that this new offence can be used now to sentence more harshly such offenders that cause serious injury to their victims by driving dangerously. No doubt no custodial sentence, whatever the length, would seem strong enough punishment to reflect the serious and life changes injuries sustained by the boy in this case. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the paramedics, our NHS doctors and nursing staff and the police that had to face this terrible traumatic incident and want to express my support to the boy and his parents at such a very difficult time.
When I practised criminal law, I lost count of the times that I was required to represent defendants that had caused very serious, life-changing injuries to their victims through dangerous driving. Back then, the maximum sentence for the offence of ‘Dangerous Driving’, whether injury was caused or not, was 2 years imprisonment. As a result, in 2011 I was lucky enough to be able to bring a ‘Ten Minute Rule Bill’ to Parliament. My Bill effectively created the new offence of ‘Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving’ under Section 143 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, thereby amending the Road Traffic Act 1988 to include the new offence. Now, when offenders cause serious injuries to their victims, they can be punished more properly to reflect the harm caused to their innocent victims. However, there remains a debate as to whether 5 years is in fact long enough in cases where serious life changing injury is caused to the innocent victims from dangerous drivers.