Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The government has got blood on its hands "

Sentences criticised after toddler death

Sentences handed to two men involved in an accident which resulted in the death of toddler after a trailer broke loose while being towed by a car have been criticised for being 'too lenient'.
Two men have been fined and had points put on their driving licence after the death of four-year-old Finlay Martin in Heage.

Finlay died when he was struck by a trailer that had come loose from a car on Old Road in Heage in June.

His mother, Zoe, was also hit by the trailer and spent weeks in hospital.

The Crown Prosecution Service reviewed the case in light of a coroner's verdict at an inquest into the youngster's death last month when it was revealed the trailer's brakes had been defective and no breakaway cable was fitted.

The driver of the car towing the trailer, David Robins, of Belper, pleaded guilty on February 13 at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court to using a motor vehicle when the secondary coupling device on the trailer was not fitted and to using a motor vehicle namely the trailer, with defective brakes.

He was fined £500 and given three penalty points on his licence. He was also ordered to pay £45 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Owner of the trailer Michael Buckley was also given a £500 fine, three points on his licence and the additional fees after pleading guilty to permitting the use of such a vehicle.

After the case Amber Valley borough councillor Juliette Blake, who represents Heage and is leading a campaign to tighten regulations on the use of trailers, said the sentences were lenient considering a child had died.

Cllr Blake said: "It's nothing considering a child has died. I was nearly in tears when I heard. If it was my child I would be gutted at these sentences. The family's lives have been wrecked by this.

"Since Finlay was killed there have been numerous other accidents involving trailers.

"The government has got blood on its hands as far as I'm concerned until it brings in legislation to stop this. Are they waiting for a larger accident where 60 people are killed?

"They won't bring in legislation without public pressure but while it's just one death here and there, there doesn't seem to be a concerted effort to bring public attention to it.

"There is a serious problem in this country with trailers, I see some horrific ones driving around and there are very few laws governing their use.

"We have an annual MOT test for cars, so you know that every car has been seen and checked in the last 12 months. There's nothing like that for trailers and there should be, they should be checked for road worthiness every year."

The full article contains 467 words and appears in n/a newspaper.
Last Updated: 20 February 2008 2:29 PM

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