A man who drove his car into a pram and killed an 18-day-old baby while using a phone while driving has had his “forgiving” sentence increased.
James Davis, 36, was originally sentenced to six and a half years in prison for causing the death of Ciaran Morris, who was said to have taken his first ever walk.
A jury found him guilty of dangerous driving while uninsured after hitting the pavement in an unregistered BMW on Easter Sunday last year.
They heard him veer off his side of the road into the oncoming lane, into the lane of an oncoming car, which he rammed before swerving off the road, fatally injuring Ciaran.
He then fled the scene at Brownhills, near Walsall in the West Midlands.
After being convicted at Wolverhampton Crown Court in April, Davis’ sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General’s Office, arguing it was “unreasonably lenient”.
Today, appeals court judges increased his sentence to 10 years at a hearing attended by Davis via video link from HMP Birmingham.
Oliver Glasgow QC, for the Attorney General, argued that the sentencing judge failed to properly consider some factors that compounded the seriousness of the crime, including Davis’ excessive speed and his cannabis use.
The lawyer said: “Not only did Davis not have insurance, the car itself was unregistered, it was a car that should not have been on the road.”
Mr Glasgow told the court that Davis was driving at 67mph 16.5 seconds before the collision and that he slowed to 33mph six seconds before the collision as he approached a roundabout.
The court heard that Davis later turned off his side of the road into the oncoming lane, into the path of an oncoming car.
“The perpetrator must have used his cell phone. When he switched lanes there was no attempt to brake or avoid the collision,” Glasgow said.
“The perpetrator just didn’t look where he was going.”
At the trial, Davis “claimed that he temporarily lost consciousness from a fit of coughing,” the attorney added.
Charles Crinion argued for Davis that the trial judge was best placed to assess the seriousness of the crime, adding that the judge was “cautious” in the hearing and in delivering the verdict.
“The trial judge was in the best position to assess each factor,” he said.
The attorney later said Davis “passed a street test for cannabis” about half an hour after the fatal collision.
Mr Crinion also argued that Davis was driving at the speed limit at the time of the collision, adding that his previous speed was “very closely related to (with) but not the cause” of the fatal accident.
Lady Justice Carr, sitting with Mr Justice Fraser and Judge Deborah Taylor, paid tribute to Ciaran and his family in her judgment.
She said, “We note right from the start that no judgment can bring Ciaran back to his family.”
The judges increased Davis’ sentence after finding that the trial judge erred.
Lady Justice Carr said: “A tenure of around seven years should have been the platform from which additional aggravating and mitigating factors should be considered.
“We understand there were several significant additional factors… A 10-year sentence was warranted.”
Davis’ increased sentence was welcomed by Attorney General Suella Braverman QC.
After the hearing, she said: “Today my thoughts are with the family of Ciaran Morris, who was tragically killed by the criminally dangerous driving of James Davis.
“While no judgment can undo the harm caused by Davis’ actions, I applaud the court’s decision to enter a judgment that more accurately reflects the horrific crime that took place.”
Ciaran’s parents, Camaron Morris and Codie Holyman, who were both 18 at the time of the crash, paid tribute to her last year, saying, “Mom and Dad’s hearts will always ache, we love you dearly,” they said.
“We couldn’t keep you long, but we’re glad we had the opportunity to meet you, take care of you, and call you our son. Fly high angel.’
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/06/walsall-driver-who-killed-newborn-in-pram-while-using-phone-has-sentence-increased-16955936/ Walsall: Driver who killed newborn in pram while on phone has been sentenced to a higher penalty