Killer DUI driver gets 3 years
(CNS): A 32-year-old man has been jailed for three years after pleading guilty to causing the death of Dr Richard Martin last November as a result of drink and speed. Patrick Brooks-Dixon had almost twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he took a bend at over 105mph on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and lost control of his Chevy Trail Blazer, smashing into the Honda that Dr Martin was driving. The doctor was killed instantly. His wife and Brooks-Dixon’s wife, a passenger in his car, were also seriously injured. Justice Richard Williams said Martin was killed as a result of an “atrocious and shameful piece of driving by a man under the influence of alcohol”, as he read his sentencing ruling on Thursday.
The judge acknowledged a number of mitigating circumstances, but he placed the road death in the more severe category in terms of sentencing guidelines because of the combination of excessive speed and the fact that the offender was well over the legal limit for alcohol.
The judge did, however, give Brooks-Dixon’s a full discount on what he considered to be an appropriate sentence of four years as a result of the plea. While noting that "on the evidence a guilty plea was the only sensible course for you to take,” Justice Williams reduced the term of imprisonment to three years. The judge also suspended Brooks-Dixon’s licence for seven years.
Pointing to the aggravating factors in the case aside from the excessive speed Justice Williams emphasised that the defendant had consumed alcohol to such a level that it influenced his ability to drive safely.
Listing the mitigating factors, the judge said Brooks-Dixon was not the sort of man who would normally appear before the courts, that he was previously a good driver, had numerous positive character references, that he had shown significant remorse from the moment of the accident and had since been in counselling. However, he also said he had considered the victim impact statement and the circumstances of the death.
Justice Williams reflected that death by dangerous driving cases always trouble the court as the consequences are extremely serious but the offenders do not intend to cause death. But he pointed to the need for custodial sentences to also act as a deterrent.
“I must consider the deterrent factor to ensure that those who consume alcohol and then drive dangerously on our roads, and unfortunately there are many, should think twice before they do so, realizing that if their case comes before this court that can expect a hard line,” he said.
The judge said that as a result of Brooks-Dixon’s “deplorable conduct” Martin’s family had lost a loved one who was irreplaceable. He also pointed to the students who had lost a mentor and said that Dr Martin’s loss was one for the “whole community” as it had “lost an educator from whom future generations could have benefitted.”
Dr Martin, who was 52 when he was killed, was from Pennsylvania, USA, but was resident on Grand Cayman as he was a professor at St Matthews Medical School.
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