Tommy Berry, Croston, Lancashire, March 2012

Tommy died from serious head injuries after he was hit from behind by a 19-year-old driver. The driver claimed he hadn’t seen Tommy because he had been blinded by the low setting sun. He had effectively driven blind for ten seconds covering 190 metres, yet he was charged with causing death by careless driving. The driver was convicted and sentenced to 300 hours community service and a two year driving ban.

Tommy’s family waited 16 months for the case to come to trial and were poorly informed throughout of the case progress. When the sentencing date was brought forward they weren’t informed of the change and were given incorrect information about where the sentencing was to take place. They were told the driver had pleaded guilty when he had actually been found guilty and they only learned of the sentence the driver received via a police phone call.

Tommy’s story exemplifies not only what appears to be an inappropriate ‘careless’ driving prosecution, but also how bereaved families can be kept in the dark about case progress, making them less able to challenge the decisions of prosecutors.

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