Bradford judge's ‘three-strike’ call for danger drivers

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

A judge has called for a new “three strikes and you’re out” jail sentence for persistent dangerous drivers while dealing with a Bradford man who has committed the offence five times.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC branded the maximum two-year prison term for dangerous driving “woefully inadequate” and called for a raised tariff similar to that for repeat house-breakers and drug dealers.

The law states that judges must lock up “third strike” home burglars for three years and “third strike” drug dealers for seven years.

“There should be an offence of aggravated dangerous driving – a three-striker,” Judge Durham Hall said.

He remanded James Mellor, 25, of Swarland Grove, Little Horton, Bradford, in custody at Bradford Crown Court yesterday while deciding whether to imprison him.

The judge was told that Mellor had made “life changing” strides since his fourth conviction for dangerous driving in 2008 for an offence dating back to 2006.

His barrister, Simon Myers, said the trainee plumber at Bradford College, who has a stable family life, had a full driving licence and was insured when he committed his fifth offence of dangerous driving on April 7 this year.

His passenger was wanted by the police and urged Mellor to drive off when he was ordered to stop.

Ewan McLachlan, prosecuting, said Mellor led police on a chase of up to 60mph in a 30mph zone in the West Bowling area at 1pm.

Judge Durham Hall said it was a very difficult case to sentence and he wanted time to think about it.

Locking Mellor up until a week today, the judge observed that he had come prepared to go to jail.

“You’ve got your toothbrush and your jim-jams,” he told him, just before he was led down to the cells.

The judge said: “Do I give him 300 hours’ unpaid work and a long period of disqualification or do I give him 15 months?”

After the case, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said in a statement: “I am aware of the strong feeling on sentencing for serious dangerous driving cases.

“I am looking carefully at this issue. It is important that any change addresses the real harm caused by very serious driving offences.”

And Richard Coteau, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said: “It's time for judges to get tough with these selfish, irresponsible and potentially deadly drivers, and put a stop to their illegal and dangerous driving before it results in a devastating crash.”

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