Defence lawyer Grant Connell thinks the law with regard to the granting of H licenses, should be amended, as too many inexperienced drivers are driving H vehicles.
Connell commented on the issue at the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday while mitigating on behalf of his client J’Lani Douglas, a 26-year-old minibus driver, who had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, committed on May 28, 2021.
It was revealed in Court that this was Douglas’ third conviction for dangerous driving, and that he had a horrific driving record.
But Connell is of the view that too many youngsters with very little driving experience are driving H vehicles.
He said that when these young inexperienced drivers are granted H licenses, and they are of control, the Court cannot fix the problem.
“You have to amend the law. The problem is within the law. You can fix the problem with sentences you pass now. That is like putting a plaster on a sore”, he opined.
“We see it too often for young drivers with H licenses to clog up the Court. Maybe they should not have H licences at all. I have seen young men 18 and 19 driving container trucks.
“The law needs to be fixed”, he suggested.
According to Connell, “When you look at his (Douglas) character in general, he is not a hardened criminal, he is a good boy”.
Connell commended Sergeant Jones who prosecutes traffic matter, adding that he (Connell) always say to minibus drivers that Sergeant 444 Kenny Jones means good, and his advice to those drivers is, “You don’t demand respect, you command respect”.
Douglas was fined $2,500, and was disqualified from driving for nine months.
But Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne told him that had it not been for the sterling mitigation plea from his lawyer, he could have been facing permanent disqualification, as he was convicted three times for dangerous driving.
Browne thinks that the term of imprisonment for Douglas could be a renewal for him, as well as a reflection of his attitude.
“That could be a stern message for all van men now”, Connell responded.
Section 48(2) (c), Chapter 483 of the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, revised edition of the laws of SVG, 2009, states that a person, on their third conviction for dangerous driving, may be disqualified permanently.
Douglas was one of several persons who appeared in Court on Monday on charges of dangerous driving
Source :Hayden Huggins for The Vincentian