The trial of Peter Morrison concluded this morning. He was pleading guilty to death by careless driving but the prosecution rejected the plea and pushed for death by dangerous driving contrary to s1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Morrison lost control of his vehicle, slewed across three lanes and collided with two highway workers. One was killed outright and the other is seriously paralysed.
This morning the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict at Preston Crown Court.
Key evidence from the case;
- M6 motorway
- Average speed 81mph
- 25 texts sent in 23 miles
- Appalling weather conditions
This will be an interesting case with regard to sentencing. Tomasz Kroker killed a woman and 3 children whilst distracted in August 2016. He made an early guilty plea and was sentenced to 10yrs in prison. I’m not aware of any previous conviction history for Kroker that increased his sentence. Some would argue that with a maximum sentence of 14yrs being available 10yrs was not enough. However, based on many other cases this sentence was substantial.
If Morrison is in the same position as Kroker then he has a hefty custodial sentence ahead of him. Kroker killed four people. Morrison killed one and seriously injured another. There is no doubt that Kroker caused far more devastation and hurt. The fact the outcome is less horrific will offer little comfort to the grieving families in this case. Morrison will also lose any discount for an early guilty plea having opted for a trial which lasted 6 days.
Historically there have always been complaints about the sentences handed down in such cases. Many people have called for manslaughter or murder charges. The argument is an old one but the government have finally recognised this and agreed to increase the maximum penalty from 14yrs to life. This legislation is not yet in force but the pressure upon the judicial system and government will make this an interesting case with regard to the penalty imposed.
Either way….Morrison faces a considerable amount of time behind bars. A sobering thought for anyone who still uses a phone whilst driving.
Morrison is released on bail and will be sentenced on November 23rd
More on the case here
pic credit. NW Mail
** Post edit. Sentencing Update
Sentencing in this case was delayed after the Judge presiding fell ill. It took until the new year of 2018 for the case to be listed for sentencing. Peter Morrison appeared before Mr Justice William Davis who sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment.