Four days after she was knocked off the road by a racing vehicle on the Maurice Bishop Highway in February of 2013, a thirteen-year-old J.W Fletcher student, succumbed to her injuries at the General Hospital. Some six years after, the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident has been sent to jail.
High Court Judge Madam Justice Paula Gilford presiding at the # 1 Supreme Court on Monday handed down the sentence on Grand Anse resident Ian Moses Scott after he pleaded guilty, to Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, accepting full responsibility for the death of Ayana Lewis who also resided in Grand Anse.
According to evidence emanating from the court prior to sentencing on Monday, Ayana had just gotten off a bus from school and was in the process of crossing the road when she was struck down by an oncoming car.
The evidence quoted the driver of the bus as saying that seeing the car approaching he had attempted to get the driver’s attention but to no avail given the speed at which the driver was travelling.
The police report indicated that Ayana was recovered some 96 feet from the area of impact, she had suffered extensive bodily injuries and remained unresponsive as a patient at the General Hospital up to the time of her death.
Medical reports attributed the cause of death to severe head injuries.
Scott was represented in court by defence counsels George Prime and Jerry Edwards both of whom entreated the court to consider a fine notwithstanding that the civil case surrounding the incident had already reached a full settlement.
Prime who cited several references across the region to support his call for a non-custodial sentence and said at the end of the day what happened on February 15th 2013 was an accident and while no amount of money can replace the life of a loved one, nothing done at the court would be able to reverse the process.
He admitted that while the court has the final say, the precedent for such offences is a fine.
Prime noted that his client is extremely remorseful, over what had happened, hence the reason he said, he chose not to contest the civil case and accepted the first demand of some forty-seven thousand dollars made by the victim’s family’s legal team. He added that his client had settled in full the compensation package, notwithstanding that Ayana’s mother on the witness stand on Monday said she knows nothing of a settlement in that amount, instead, she indicated that she had received only fourteen thousand dollars as compensation for her child’s death.
Prior to handing down her sentence, Judge Gilford reminded Scott that the taking of a youthful life through dangerous driving while not being the holder of a valid driver’s license cannot be taken lightly. The sentence of the court she added should be a deterrent to others intent on such action.
However, the civil aspect of the matter having already been settled, Judge Gilford chose not to impose a fine and instead handed a sentence of three years and three months in prison to the offender. In addition, he is debarred from holding a driver’s license for the next eight years. This component of the sentence is to take effect on the completion of the prison term.
Meanwhile defence lawyer George Prime views the judge’s pronouncement six years after as somewhat tough on the young man, now 34 and already having paid full compensation.
He hinted to this newspaper that he would be taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.