by Steve Beasant on 4 November, 2016
Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland asked Justice Ministers to give Parliament an update on government’s review into criminal driving offences and penalties and urged them to finally get on with it, expressing the frustration of families of victims, campaigners and MPs at the length of time it is taking to get started. Greg Mulholland pointed out that the government had said it should have already been concluded – yet it actually hasn’t even started.
The review was launched on 6th May 2014, by then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP and should have been completed by Spring 2015. It was aiming to look at all driving offences and penalties.
However, two and a half years on, and now onto a third Secretary of State for Justice, in response to Greg Mulholland‘s question, Justice Minister Dr Philip Lee told the House that they “aim to consult by the end of the year”. (2016)
Greg Mulholland has long campaigned for justice for victims of criminal driving, following the deaths of three constituents in recent years. 16 year-old Jamie Still from Otley was killed in December 2010, and David and Dorothy Metcalf, 68 and 65 years old respectively, were killed in January 2012 – all by the worst sort of reckless criminal driving, driving dangerously at excess speed and under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both.
In March 2015, after working with families, charities and MPs from all parties, Greg published a manifesto, which was backed by the road safety charity Brake, which called for a range of changes to criminal driving laws, relating to sentencing, investigations, victim support, and other areas.
Earlier this year on 12th January, he introduced the Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill in the House of Commons with cross-party support, and the following month he was named Brake’s Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Year.
Addressing justice ministers in the House of Commons this week, Greg Mulholland said:
“There are Members across the House who have supported families who have lost family members to the most reckless criminal driving. Members have also had to support such families through the reality of being failed by our justice system. The Department announced a review two and a half years ago, which should have concluded by now. Three Secretaries of State later, we are told again that there will be consultation this year. It is not good enough. Can the Minister give the House a clear date when the review will finally be published and there will be more justice for victims of criminal driving?”
Responding, justice minister Dr Philip Lee MP said:
“Parliament sets the maximum penalties for road traffic offences, and we intend to consult by the end of the year on driving offences and penalties for the most serious cases that result in death or serious injury.”
Commenting, Greg Mulholland said:
“It is disappointing that, two and a half years on, Ministers have not given Parliament a single update about the progress of the review launched in 2014, which was supposed to have been completed by 2015 and now tell us that they intend to consult by the end of this year. This is not good enough considering previous commitments made and dates given.
“We have been told to expect a consultation to be launched before the end of 2016. We will now hold ministers to the new date they have given, but we still need clearer information about when this consultation will lead to the proper review and when this will finally be published, it is already a year and a half late.
“The Government needs to at last get on do its review of sentences that families of victims and campaigners have been expecting for the last two and half years.”
“Families and campaigners will certainly be looking to partake in that consultation so we can finally see some long overdue changes. Serious reckless criminal driving must lead to serious penalties and this is the justice too often denied that we will continue to fight for.”Leave a comment