Alex Bowden July 15 2017
Hull’s most senior judge says he will write to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Lord Chancellor to invite reconsideration of the maximum penalties open to a court in cases where serious injury has been caused due to seriously deficient driving and several aggravating features are present.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC was speaking after jailing businessman Owen Finn for three years for causing catastrophic and life-changing injuries to 16-year-old cyclist Kiernan Roberts in a drink-driving incident.
Finn was also banned from driving for 11-and-a-half years, and must pass an extended test before he can drive again.
The Hull Daily Mail reports that Roberts was riding home from his part-time job at around 11.15pm on October 7 last year when Finn “ploughed” into him from behind in his Mercedes on Brantingham Road, Elloughton.
Rather than stop, Finn drove to his ex-wife’s, changed his clothes, and then fled to Birmingham with a broken windscreen.
The president of Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce was returning from a chamber function near South Cave and had drunk so much alcohol that witnesses said he could barely stand up.
Roberts, who was riding with lights, was left lying in the road with a broken neck, a fractured skull, a fractured spine and other serious injuries. He was found by a passing motorist and having undergone life-saving surgery now requires round-the-clock care.
Finn admitted four offences, including causing serious injury by dangerous driving, for which the maximum sentence is five years.
Judge Richardson said: “I echo the views of the Court of Appeal in the case of Jenkins  where a level of criticism was directed at the maximum sentence of five years for crimes of this kind.
“I respectfully agree with those observations, and it has to be said that a case of this kind, with so many exceptionally serious features, would have warranted a higher level of sentencing had it been open to the court.
“There is simply not enough room for manoeuvre within the bracket currently open to the court to tailor the sentence in a sufficiently punitive way in a case of exceptional seriousness. Such a facility obtains when death has occurred, but not where, as here in this case, life-shattering injuries have been caused as a result of a level of utterly deplorable dangerous driving with many aggravating features.