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PM supports sentence change call on banned drivers from Gloucester MP

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: January 30, 2013

Comments (6)

DAVID Cameron has indicated his support for increased prison sentences for banned drivers who kill on the roads following the death of a well-respected Gloucester man.

The Prime Minister told MPs at Westminster he wanted the courts to feel able to "take exemplary action" against the most "appalling, extraordinary crimes" after city MP Richard Graham highlighted the case of a motorcyclist jailed for 18 months.

Graham Godwin, branded by the judge "an absolute menace on the roads", was disqualified from driving when he collided with Paul Stock, a well-known welder, who later died.

Godwin pleaded guilty to causing death while driving when disqualified, causing death while not being insured and using a false name to obtain insurance.

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Gloucester Crown Court heard Godwin had 12 previous convictions for driving without insurance, nine for driving while disqualified and three for drink driving.

The judge said the maximum allowed by law for the driving offences was two years – but he was legally bound to reduce it to 18 months to give Godwin credit for his guilty plea.

The fact Godwin, of Winnycroft Lane, Matson, was banned when he committed the offence last March, did not mean he could be sentenced more harshly than a driver who was not.

Mr Stock's widow Mandy is campaigning for a change in the law to introduce tougher sentences for disqualified drivers who cause death or injury.

Raising the case at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Graham drew support from all sides of the House of Commons.

"Mr Godwin has multiple previous convictions for driving without insurance, and while disqualified and said he was not subject to the laws of our land," said Mr Graham.

"The current maximum prison sentence for this crime is two years, and my constituent's widow Mandy Stock understandably believes that it is time for Parliament to recognise the danger caused by serial disqualified drivers, and also to increase the maximum sentence for dangerous driving.

"Would the Prime Minister ask the Justice Secretary to look urgently at both these issues?"

Responding, Mr Cameron "I think he can tell from the response he received around the House that this concern that he expressed is shared widely around the House, and I would argue widely around the country.

"The previous government and this government both worked to try and increase some of the penalties associated with drivers who ended up killing people through their recklessness and carelessness.

"I will look carefully at what he says and arrange for him to meet with the Justice Secretary.

"I do think it's important that we give our courts a sense that when there are appalling, extraordinary crimes they can take exemplary action.

"I do think that's important in a justice system and I will look very carefully at what he said."

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6 comments

  • bonzaharris1  |  January 30 2013, 7:01PM

    Totally with you mandyst, wanting justice and proper sentencing is no stunt, its a right. I am sick of reading about crimes, on this website where criminals cannot be charged with a serious enough charge to warrant a sentence that serves proper justice. I spit feathers at the pathetic sentences handed down to smirking lowlife who feel it was worth it. Eighteen months for the loss your Husband is an insult and a mockery to the value that should be placed on human life. I will happily sign any petition to that effect.

    |   4
  • mandyst  |  January 30 2013, 6:47PM

    you are lucky. my other issue is totally your point. if Paul had lived depite his many major multipule injuries, there Is no charge for causing serious injury, or any injury infact. He would have been charged with driving while disqualified, probably got a fine. 2 e=petitions running, 1. INCREASE THE SENTENCING GUIDELINES FOR DEATH WHILE DISQUALIFIED. 2. INTRODUCE A NEW CHARGE OF CAUSING SERIOUS INJURY WHILE DISQUALIFIED. the're not stunts, I will get this changed. need everyone to sigh though.

    |   5
  • bonzaharris1  |  January 30 2013, 6:22PM

    Point taken mandyst, I find that the sentencing guidelines, and what charges can be brought against people are totally inadequate for many crimes. Several years ago, when I was driving home, I was hit by a car. The driver was over the limit, disqualified, and had taken his fathers car without consent. I was lucky, I was not hurt. But in circumstances where someone is killed, there has got to be an appropriate charge brought against the person responsible, otherwise it just makes life so cheap, and no justice is served for the victim or their family.

    |   2
  • mandyst  |  January 30 2013, 6:05PM

    Thank you to Richard Graham for raising the issue and obviously highlighting the situation. However the issue is not increasing the sentance for dangerous driving. It point is to raise the totally inappropriate guidelines for death while disqualified, when the MANNER of driving is NOT classed as dangerous, careless or reckless in the eyes of the law, even when it is to any normal, sane human being.

    |   6
  • FreeRadical1  |  January 30 2013, 5:58PM

    Given that Godwin was speeding (at over 40mph in a 30 zone) and driving in a reckless manner (plenty of witnesses to that), why wasn't he charged with causing death by dangerous driving? The whole justice system needs an overhaul.

    |   3
  • bonzaharris1  |  January 30 2013, 4:59PM

    Ten years mandatory prison sentence, with no parole and a liftime ban would be good.

    |   4

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