HMA v Steven Keiro

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Armstrong sentenced Steven Keiro to four years and six months imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. On sentencing Lord Armstrong made the following statement in court:

After trial, you were found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, in contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988, section 1.  On 24 October 2014, on the A862, north of Dingwall, you lost control of your vehicle, as the result of driving at excessive speed, and thereby caused the death of Linsy Gordon.  Your vehicle collided with her’s, on her carriageway.  There has never been any criticism of her driving. You had earlier been noted to be driving at excessive speed on a stretch of the A9, only shortly before this tragic accident, caused by you, took place.

The terms of the criminal justice report now available indicate that, although you continue to deny your culpability for driving dangerously,  you do take full responsibility for, and have shown regret and remorse for, the consequences of the accident which you caused,

The fact remains however that this is a very serious matter.  No sentence that I can impose can in any sense be a measure of the value of the life which has been lost or provide comfort to those of the family whose own lives have been devastated as a result.

It is incumbent on me, following guidance by the Appeal Court to have regard to the terms of the Definitive Guideline “Causing Death by Driving”, issued in July 2008 by the Sentencing Guidelines Council in England.

Of the five determinate factors set out in the Definitive Guideline as being referable to the assessment of the gravity of the offence, and therefore the extent of your culpability, due weight must be attached to the fact that, at the relevant time, you were driving at a greatly excessive speed, inappropriate for the prevailing road and weather conditions  Applying the guidance contained in the Guidelines to the facts of this case, I characterise the standard of your driving as being such as to create a significant risk of danger to others.

I have noted the content of the criminal justice social work report which has been prepared in relation to you, and I have considered the whole circumstances of the case, your personal circumstances, and the points made in your favour this morning by Mr Nicholson. You are 25 years of age, and have a good employment history.  I also recognise that you have not previously been sent to prison.

However, having regard to the level of criminal culpability demonstrated by the facts of this case, I have come to the conclusion that there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial disposal. Although there are clearly features of this case which must be viewed as aggravating factors, these must be balanced by the mitigating effect of your personal circumstances, which I have taken into account.

As part of that exercise, in determining the appropriate sentence, I take into account the fact that you have previously been convicted, of a road traffic offence, for speeding in particular, that offence having been committed by you prior to the tragic events with which I am now concerned. Your driving record is not therefore an unblemished one. 

Having regard to the whole facts and circumstances of the case, the sentence I now impose on you is a period of imprisonment of 4 years 6 months. That sentence will run from to today’s date. You will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of 8 years, with effect from 1 September 2017, and until you pass the extended driving test.  Your licence will be endorsed.

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