SE Cambs MP Jim Paice gets behind campaign for tougher sentencing

SOUTH East Cambridgeshire MP Jim Paice has thrown his weight behind a new campaign to introduce tougher penalties for dangerous drivers who kill.

The website was launched this week with the backing of victims’ families, charities and cross-party support in Parliament.

The campaign aims to persuade the Sentencing Council to review the guidelines which prevent judges from handing out tougher penalties to drivers who kill.

Jim said: “If Parliament gives the courts powers to impose long sentences then they should be allowed to use them”.

Figures revealed in support of the campaign show that one in three of those convicted of causing death by dangerous or careless driving escape prison.

Such inadequate sentences leave families, who are already devastated by the loss of a loved one feeling justice has not been done.

Many of Jim’s constituents have contacted him highlighting the case of Jamie Butcher, 22, who was killed crossing a road in Wisbech in 2011 when a driver ran a red light at 58mph in a 30mph zone.

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The driver was sentenced to only 43 months in prison which Jamie’s family have described as ‘totally inadequate’.

Jim said: ‘Victims families often feel let down by the justice system when a dangerous driver who kills a loved one receives a lenient sentence. The maximum sentence of 14 years has never been used and only one in ten of those convicted went to prison for more than 5 years. That’s why I’m backing this campaign to give dangerous drivers who kill the tough sentences they deserve.’

The leading Road Safety charity Brake are already backing the campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: ‘This campaign is crucial because letting off drivers who kill with lenient sentences, or sometimes no jail term at all, implies that driving dangerously, even when it results in loss of life and terrible suffering, is only a minor transgression.’