New Clause 15 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was debated by its Public Bill Committee on the 13th October 2011. The Bill now goes on to the Report stage in the House of Commons on the 24th October 2011.
but only to a degree. While it is certainly true that the standard of driving must be the most important factor in judging culpability, the Government believe it important to ensure that we strike a balance between the level of criminal fault on the part of dangerous drivers and the consequences of that criminal fault for the victim. We believe that the maximum sentence of five years for the new offence will give the courts the ability better to address that balance.
safety or the safety of others sometimes warrants a sentence of more than two years, whether injury has occurred or not. That is my criticism of the proposals. As I have said, however, the Government new clause puts the victims of dangerous driving—certainly where serious injury has occurred—at the heart of the justice system. I welcome that and thank the Minister for listening endlessly to me, not always in the privacy of the Justice Secretary’s office, but while I chased him down corridors and in the Lobby, as I have done on numerous occasions. I thank him very much indeed.
those aggravating features can be properly reflected in the existing legislation. Therefore, I urge the Government to consider that the better way is to change the sentencing powers from two to five years, so that all such offences can be properly sentenced by judges. I am a great believer in giving our judges powers and discretions to ensure that the punishment fits the crime.