Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, held a meeting on Thursday 4th December 2014, with the Minister for Criminal Justice to discuss sentencing for those convicted of Death by Dangerous Driving.
Alok was joined by Hayley Lindsay and Tracey Fidler, the fiancées of John Morland and Kris Jarvis who were killed by a reckless driver in February this year and local community campaigner Karen Rowland, for a meeting in Westminster with the Right Honourable Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims.
John Morland and Kris Jarvis lost their lives after they were hit on their bicycles in Purley by a driver who was already disqualified from driving, was driving 70mph in a 30mph zone whilst being pursued by police, was two and a half times over the alcohol limit and had taken cocaine in the previous 24 hours.
The meeting was organised by Alok to provide an opportunity for Tracey and Hayley to present their campaign for tougher sentences for dangerous driver killers to the responsible minister, ahead of the publication of a full review of all driving related offences and sentences being carried out by the Ministry of Justice.
Tracey and Hayley started an e-petition earlier this year, which calls for drivers to receive a maximum sentence of 14 years per person who has been killed, with each sentence to run consecutively and not concurrently. This has now received more than 28,000 signatures and can be viewed online by clicking here.
During the meeting, Mike Penning said the Government was pushing ahead with plans to change the law to make sure that driving bans imposed at the same time as a prison sentence will be extended so that they continue to apply once the offender has been released. This change is due to come into effect next year.
Mike Penning highlighted the importance of debate and consultation in this area and agreed to ensure that the views expressed by Tracey and Hayley were fed into the Review of driving offences and penalties.
Hayley Lindsay said: “It was a pleasure to meet with the Minister Mike Penning, as we feel that tougher sentences need to be revised and put in place. Families like ourselves and future families need to feel that there getting the justice they deserve after losing a loved one.”
Alok Sharma said: “I am really grateful to Mike Penning for taking such a close interest in Hayley and Tracey’s campaign. Given Mike’s work experience before entering Parliament as a firefighter who had to attend road traffic incidents, he absolutely gets where we are coming from. While I would not expect the Minister to pre-empt the ongoing review into sentencing, he listened very closely to the argument for needing tougher sentences for those who kill through dangerous driving and had a lot of sympathy for Tracey and Hayley’s case.”
Justice Minister Mike Penning said: “Any death on our roads is a tragedy. I have the utmost sympathy for the families of John Morland and Kris Jarvis and cannot imagine the pain they have been through. Judges already have tough sentencing options available to them for driving offences but we are continuing to strengthen their options. We are changing the law to increase maximum sentences for disqualified drivers who cause deaths and serious injuries and to make sure driving disqualifications continue after an offender leaves prison.”
Mike Penning continued: “We are also looking closely at the law in this area and have announced a review of driving offences and penalties. I am grateful that Hayley Lindsay and Tracey Fidler took the time speak to me and I will give careful consideration to the issues raised.”
Photo: Alok Sharma with Tracey Fidler, Hayley Lindsay, Karen Rowland and Justice Minister Mike Penning