Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Spotlight on Sentencing

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Sadly, I think the father of Cerys Edwards will get nowhere with his call for a reckless and dangerous driver to face further charges over the severe injuries to his daughter which have now ended her young life.

Six months in prison for such behaviour beggars belief and the young man involved, Antonio Boparan, showed what kind of person he really is after being jailed for further year over a separate offence which left another person blind in one eye.    

Cerys Edwards dies nine years after Sutton Coldfield crash

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Image caption - Cerys Edwards would be sadly missed, her family said

A girl left brain-damaged in a crash caused by a speeding driver has died, after being on a ventilator for almost nine years.

Cerys Edwards was 11 months old when Antonio Singh Boparan crashed into her parents' car, leaving her needing round-the-clock care.

She died on Saturday - a month before her 10th birthday - from complications caused by an infection.

Her father Gareth has said he now wants Boparan to face fresh charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would need a further file of evidence from the police for it to consider charging Boparan with causing death by dangerous driving.

Boparan was 19 when he hit the Edwards' car head-on in November 2006.

He was doing more than 70mph in a 30mph area when he crashed his Range Rover Sport in Streetly Lane, Sutton Coldfield.

Image copyright - Cerys Edwards family Image caption - Gareth Edwards paid tribute to his daughter Cerys' bravery

Boparan, of Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, was convicted of dangerous driving in April 2008.

He was told by Judge Frank Chapman he had shown an "arrogant disregard" for safety and jailed for 21 months. He was released under curfew conditions after serving six months.

Mr Edwards said: "At the end of the day, [Boparan] served six months. Cerys suffered for nine years and now she has lost her life.

"It's an insult. He never served a proper sentence. Perhaps it's time something happened".

Supt Paul Keasey from West Midlands Police said he was saddened to hear Cerys had died.

"I want to express my deepest condolences to Cerys' family, friends and all those who knew her. My thoughts are with them at this sad time.

"At this stage we have not been made aware of any further evidence or new information that would result in the investigation being re-opened."

'Cheeky smile'

Mr Edwards said: "Cerys was a very happy little girl, whose cheeky smile would melt the heart of anyone present.

"Given her injuries, she never complained and was a joy to be with.

"She would always watch what you were doing and would follow you round the room with her eyes. She didn't miss a trick.

"She is and will be sadly missed by all who knew her especially her dad."

Image caption - Cerys was left seriously brain-damaged in the crash

A spokesman for Boparan said: "Antonio remains deeply remorseful of his actions as a teenager nine years ago and their tragic consequences.

"No words can appropriately convey the extent of his sorrow and regret at hearing this terrible news today.

"He sends his heartfelt condolences to Cerys' family at this extremely difficult time."

Image caption - Antonio Boparan was sentenced to 21 months in prison after being convicted of dangerous driving

A campaign by Mr and Mrs Edwards for tougher sentences for dangerous drivers, led to the then Justice Secretary Jack Straw proposing an increase in the maximum two-year jail term for dangerous driving to five years.

The family were awarded nearly £5m in compensation from Boparan's insurers and £450,000 a year for the rest of her life.

Approving the payouts, Judge Martin McKenna at Birmingham's High Court said it was "one of the saddest cases" he had ever come across.

Boparan was later jailed for a further year after admitting his part in a bar brawl which left a man blind in one eye.

He pleaded guilty to violent disorder and assault after a 22-year-old man was injured at the Nuovo Bar, Birmingham, in April 2014.

Boparan's father, Ranjit Singh Boparan, is known as "The Chicken King" after founding the 2 Sisters Food Group.