Disqualified driver gets jail time

No fine, however large, would be an appropriate sentence for someone who flagrantly flouted the law by driving four times after being disqualified, Chief Magistrate Nova Hall said last week. She imposed a sentence of 30 days imprisonment for Nikolai Oryang Hill, whose offences occurred between October 2011 and June 2012. 

She also disqualified him from driving for two years for each offence. These periods were ordered to run consecutively, so that Hill is disqualified from driving until November 2020.  

Crown Counsel Renuka Rambhajan said Hill, 33, had been disqualified from driving for one year from 31 August, 2011. On 10 October, 2011, police officers on patrol came upon an accident on Thomas Russell Way. It was determined that the other driver had the right of way and Hill was charged with careless driving. It was subsequently discovered that he was disqualified and that charge was laid. 

Three days later, officers saw a Radio Cayman van on the road and they followed it into the station’s parking lot where they saw Hill exiting the vehicle. When challenged, he said he was appealing his disqualification verdict and thought he could drive in the meantime. He was told he could not. He did not have the station’s permission to drive the van. 

On 22 May, 2012, officers on routine patrol saw Hill at a traffic stop on Walkers Road and stopped him. On 8 June, officers saw him driving into a gas station on Walkers Road and stopped him again.  

Attorney Martha Rankine said her client had pleaded guilty to all four charges and could only pray for the court’s leniency and mercy. Court files show that Hill was sentenced in May 2011, but received some leeway from the court because of his job as a sports reporter. 

In passing sentence, the magistrate agreed that Hill’s disqualification had been stayed. Since he planned to leave Cayman, he was not a candidate for community service, she said. She imposed the term of 30 days for each offence of driving while disqualified, but ordered that they run concurrently. Other charges, to which Hill also pleaded guilty, were met with lesser terms. 

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