HMA v Ronald Bridges

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 21 January 2019, Lady Stacey sentenced Ronald Bridges to a community payback order after the accused pled guilty to causing the death of Michael Laverty by careless driving. On sentencing, Lady Stacey made the following statement in court:

“Nothing that I can say or do can take away the grief that Mr Laverty’s family and friends feel. Mr Laverty was completely blameless in his driving and the sudden death must have been a terrible shock to his friends and family.

“He left adult children and grandchildren who miss him very much. He was a man who helped others in the community and he was also a man who served in the Territorial Army.

“The social worker who met you to draw up her report found that you expressed genuine remorse. I accept that you have been and continue to be very remorseful following this road traffic accident.

“After investigation which has taken some considerable time the Crown accept that it was caused by a moment’s inattention on your part. Therefore, the crime to which you have pled guilty is that of causing death by careless driving.

“Of course careless driving can and in this case did have fatal consequences and you as an experienced professional driver knew that. You should have been able to stop when the car in front to you stopped in order to turn right.

“This accident reminds us all that drivers have a duty to be vigilant when on the road precisely because the consequences of failure can be so extreme. 

“I have listened carefully to all that Mrs Duff has properly and helpfully said on your behalf. I take into account your previous good record. Despite the tragic consequences, in all of the circumstances I do not find it necessary to impose a custodial sentence on you.

“I am prepared instead to impose a community pay back order where you will be required to carry out unpaid work of 150 hours in the next 12 months. I have reduced the period from 200 to 150 in respect of your plea of guilty.

“I can impose such an order only if you consent to carry it out, and understand that you will have to report to the social work to whom you are allocated, and carry out his or her instructions. If you fail without a reasonable excuse to do so you can and will be brought back to court and you could be sentenced to imprisonment.

“I will impose 150 hours of unpaid work to be done in the next 12 months. I will disqualify you from driving for four years and impose a requirement that you pass a test before resuming driving.”