MAG calls for sentencing rules review after appalling bike smash. MAG’s Chairman slams “Inadequate and insulting” sentencing of drunk driver who almost killed a biker.
Chair of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), Neil Liversidge, has expressed his frustration over the Attorney General’s inability to review the sentence passed by Judge David Melville QC on drunk driver Stephen Jones at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Jones caused an accident that nearly killed a motorcyclist in April 2022, but escaped a prison sentence, despite a video showing him driving on the wrong side of the road and narrowly missing a number of other vehicles before colliding head-on with his victim, motorcyclist Scott Lemon.
The Police reported that Jones – who was nearly four times the legal limit – was “so drunk he couldn’t stand”. However, Judge David Melville QC refused to send Jones to prison, instead imposing a one-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. Jones was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from driving for two years. Mr Liversidge said: “A suspended sentence is inadequate and insulting. It was pure luck that Mr Lemon was not killed.”
See the video:
Mr Liversidge also noted:
“There’s a general perception in the motorcycling community that the courts are harsh on motorcyclists when they are the perpetrators of vehicle crime, but lenient on the likes of Jones who perpetrate crimes against motorcyclists. That’s why I called for a specific look at this case, and a general review of sentencing to ascertain whether that perception is borne out in reality.”
The Attorney General and Solicitor General do have the power to ask the Court of Appeal to review certain sentences which appear to them to be unduly lenient, but only sentences imposed for a limited number of offences. The offences for which Stephen Jones was sentenced are not offences to which the scheme applies.
However, a wider review is being undertaken, led by the Sentencing Council, regarding 12 guidelines for motoring offences – and MAG fully intends to make its views known. “We don’t want special favours,” Neil said, “We just don’t want to be treated as second class citizens.”
To comment on the consultation, go to: https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/publications/item/motoring-offences-consultation/