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Friday, 08 July 2022 – A man who crashed his car into a pram and killed an 18-day-old baby while distracted by his phone has had his sentence increased.
James Davis, 36, was originally given a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence for causing the death of Ciaran Morris, while having his first ever stroll.
A jury found him guilty of dangerous driving while uninsured after he mounted the pavement in an unregistered BMW on Easter Sunday in 2021.
The jury heard how he veered from his side of the road into the opposite lane, into the path of an oncoming car which he hit before crashing off the road and fatally injuring Ciaran.
He then fled the scene in Brownhills, near Walsall in the West Midlands before he was arrested.
After he was sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court in April 2022, Davis’s sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General’s Office, arguing it was ‘unduly lenient’.
On Thursday, July 7, judges at the Court of Appeal increased his sentence to 10 years at a hearing attended by Davis via video-link.
Oliver Glasgow QC, for the Attorney General, argued that the sentencing judge failed to properly consider some factors that increased the seriousness of the crime, including Davis’s excessive speed and his use of cannabis.
The barrister said: ‘Not only did (Davis) not have insurance, the car itself had not been registered, it was a car that should not have been on the road.’
Mr Glasgow told the court that 16.5 seconds before the collision Davis was driving at 67mph, and that six seconds before the collision he had slowed down to 33mph as he approached a roundabout.
The court heard that Davis later veered from his side of the road into the opposite lane, into the path of an oncoming car.
‘The offender must have been using his phone. At the time he swerved from one lane into another, there was no attempt to brake or avoid the collision,’ Mr Glasgow said.
‘The offender was simply not looking at where he was going.’
At trial, Davis ‘claimed to have lost consciousness temporarily as a result of a coughing fit’, the barrister added.
Charles Crinion, for Davis, said Davis had ‘passed a roadside test for cannabis’ about half an hour after the fatal collision.
Crinion also argued that Davis was driving at the speed limit by the time of the collision, adding that his previous speed ‘was very closely connected (with) but was not the cause’ of the fatal crash.
Lady Justice Carr, sitting with Mr Justice Fraser and Judge Deborah Taylor, paid tribute to Ciaran and his family in their judgment.
She said: ‘We remark at the outset that no sentence can bring Ciaran back to his family.’
The judges increased Davis’s sentence after finding that the trial judge had fallen into error.
Lady Justice Carr said: ‘A term of around seven years should have been the platform from which to consider additional aggravating and mitigating factors.
‘We consider there were multiple significant additional factors… A custodial term of 10 years was warranted.’