HMA v Callum Phillips

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 28 June 2018, Lady Stacey sentenced Callum Phillips to five years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of causing the death of Ryan Baird by dangerous driving.

On sentencing, Lady Stacey made the following statement in court:

“Mr Phillips, the jury found that you drove a bus dangerously, your driving falling far below the standard required of a careful driver.

“Your driving caused the death of Ryan Baird. Nothing that this court can do or say can lessen the grief that his family and friends feel at their loss. You also caused other passengers to suffer serious injuries.

“You were convicted by the jury of causing death and injury by your dangerous driving. At the time of the accident you were driving a bus, so you were a professional driver.

“You had responsibility for the safety of your passengers and other road users, as every driver does. You should have been taking care to drive the bus safely.

“The evidence which the jury accepted showed that you drove too fast approaching a roundabout and lost control of the bus causing it to topple over. Your actions caused death and injury to your passengers and while no other vehicle was involved you put other road users at risk.

“You have been driving for a long number of years and you know perfectly well the very serious consequences that may and on that day did follow from dangerous driving. You know the responsibility that a driver takes on but you failed to discharge that responsibility that day.

“I have listened to all that your counsel has said in his helpful address. I have read carefully the report written for the court. I have also read references supplied on your behalf.

“You do have previous convictions one of which involves speeding but I accept that you have never been convicted of dangerous of careless driving before. The conviction for speeding should have been a warning to you.

“Of course you did not deliberately mean to endanger your passengers, but you showed a shocking lack of care in your driving. You must realise that the circumstances of the accident were investigated at the trial and you have been found guilty.

“The social worker has found that you have expressed genuine remorse to Mr Baird’s brother and his partner. I am sure that living with the knowledge of this accident will have an impact on you. I note that you have suffered anxiety and have had to consult your doctor.

“Parliament has enacted legislation which provides for significant penalties in this situation. I have decided that the gravity of the offence is such that only a custodial sentence is appropriate along with disqualification from driving or obtaining a licence. I do take into account all of the circumstances as I was asked to do in considering the period of custody.

“The sentence I impose is five years’ imprisonment. I also disqualify you from driving or obtaining a licence for five years and order you to resit the test before any licence is granted to you.”