BDA v DPP

Key Words: Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, Section 117(1)(b) Road Transport Act 2013 – disqualification of licence – good behaviour bond, Section 9 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 – severity appeal – back-date licence disqualification – conditional non-conviction order, Section 10(1)(b) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

Facts:

BDA faced court for negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm following a tragic incident which left his son in a coma. BDA had been towing his sons, on skateboards, behind his vehicle, when they collided with each other and fell to the road. One son struck his head against the road and was hospitalized.

Following a plea of guilty, BDA’s conviction was recorded and he was sentenced to a 12 month good behaviour bond. BDA was also disqualified from driving for 12 months. The offence had happened in February, and the sentence was handed down in October. However, due to an administrative error BDA’s licence was disqualified from the time of the sentencing, rather than the time of the offence. He instructed the defence to appeal this decision on the grounds of severity.

Outcome:

During the appeal proceedings, the extent of BDA’s guilt and remorse was made clear. The defence assisted BDA in submitting over half a dozen letters of reference, including a letter from BDA’s current employer. Apart from praising BDA’s character, the employer made it clear that BDA’s continued employment was untenable if his licence was not reinstated.

Following these submissions, the disqualification of BDA’s licence was backdated to the time of the offence. His sentence was also downgraded to a non-conviction order, conditional on the completion of his good behaviour bond.