Editorial for 6 June: Not a minor crime

 Last week, the court sentenced a man to prison for dangerous
driving for causing the death of a medical student last November.

Not only was the sentenced man, Patrick Brooks-Dixon,
intoxicated to a level well-above Cayman’s limit, but he was travelling a more
than 100 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone.

For ending another human being’s life, Mr. Brooks-Dixon was
sentenced to three years imprisonment, which means he could be out in two years
for good behaviour.

While this may seem an inadequate punishment for the crime,
Mr. Brooks-Dixon is not the only person to have received a similar sentence
from the courts for causing the death of another person by driving dangerously
while drunk.

For whatever reason, the Cayman Islands does not seem to
consider getting behind the wheel of a car and then driving at excessive speeds
and causing the death of an innocent person a major crime. In other
jurisdictions in the world, a person guilty of killing someone else by drunk
driving would be facing a long stay in prison, often more than 10 years. In one
celebrated case in California a couple of years ago, a drunken driver was
sentenced to 51 years to life for killing three people while speeding – and he
was only going 65 miles per hour.

Anyone – drunk or not – who is driving more than 100 miles
per hour, more than twice the legal limit on any public road in Cayman, should
be considered extremely dangerous. They are choosing to endanger not only their
lives, but those of their passengers and of innocent motorists and pedestrians.
If a person driving at this speed actually causes the death of another
individual, it should not be treated as a minor crime. And if the driver is
legally intoxicated as well, he or she needs to be treated by the court like
the dangerous criminal they are.

It’s time the Cayman Islands stopped coddling those who
value their own pleasures and thrills over the lives of others. Killing a
person by driving drunk while travelling at excessive speeds needs to be
punished far more severely than it has been in the past.

 

 

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. People have been dying on the roads in Cayman for years and traffic laws are at best sporatically enforced. The individual could have killed by driving drunk or by excessive speed. Make your choice.

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  2. Your Editorial for 6 June: Not a major crime’ was most insightful and timely. I hope the courts take note. To sentence an individual to a mere three years imprisonment who could be out in two years for good behaviour is unthinkable.

    In this specific case, Patrick Brooks-Dixon was fully intoxicated way above the limit set by law and driving his vehicle at more than 100 miles per hour in a 40 MPH zone. Common sense dictates that this situation warrants a far greater penalty than just three years imprisonment. What message does this extremely light sentence sends to others who drink and drive? It says, take your chance you’ll be treated leniently with only a slap on the wrist.

    Any motor vehicle travelling at more than 100 miles per hour must be considered a lethal weapon as the lives of other road users, passengers in the driver’s vehicle, and the driver himself face instant death or critical or permanent injuries.

    Wake up courts – stop being soft on drunken drivers who dangerously drive at excessive speeds and jeopardize the lives of others. For goodness sake, let the punishment be appropriate for the crime!

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