In the recent case of R v Shamami  EWCA Crim 351, the Court of Appeal considered an appeal against the imposition of a six-year driving disqualification for dangerous driving.
Briefly, the appellant, then 26 years old, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for six years and until the mandatory extended re-test had been passed.
The appellant had been in custody on unrelated matters and so the sentence of 12 months was deemed, ‘time served’, and so the requirement of an extended disqualification period did not arise.
Facts about R v Shamami
In terms of the facts, police were looking for a Mercedes motor vehicle being driven by the appellant. When the police came across the said vehicle, they deliberately parked in front of the vehicle. The appellant immediately began to drive back and forth to effect his escape.
In direct response, a police officer got out of their police car and stood in front of the Mercedes and pointed their Taser at the appellant. The appellant drove directly at the officer forcing the officer to jump out of the way.
The appellant was able to now drive around the stationary police vehicle causing damage to the front of the vehicle. It was at this point, the police activated their sirens and blue lights. What then followed was a police pursuit.
The appellant drove off both aggressively and at speed, ignoring all speed bumps along the way.
Traffic units and a police helicopter responded. The appellant drove, at times, in excess of 120mph on roads subject to a speed limit of 50mph.
The appellant continued to drive aggressively and kept changing lanes.
A pursuing police vehicle collided with the appellant. The appellant made off and drove the wrong way around a roundabout and briefly driving on the opposite side of the road.
The appellant eventually drove into a residential area, colliding with a traffic sign, causing damage to it.
The appellant was boxed in by police and dragged from his vehicle.
In terms of previous convictions, the appellant had one previous conviction four years ago for dangerous driving and drug driving.
That case also involved a collision, that time with a bus. The appellant suffered life-threatening injuries on that occasion and received an immediate custodial sentence of 12 months, with a curfew. The appellant was further disqualified for 12 months with the mandatory re-test also ordered. The appellant completed the said extended re-test.
Outcome of the appeal
The sentencing judge noted the appellants ‘sad life’ and his deteriorating health as a result of the first RTC.
It was submitted on appeal that the above said driving disqualification of 6 years was manifestly excessive and disproportionate.
The court of appeal were not persuaded, finding that the appellant had committed a repeat offence and was clearly not deterred after his first conviction for dangerous driving.
Protecting the public from the appellant’s driving habits was deemed paramount and so, 6 years was considered proportionate in all the circumstances.
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