At Dundee Sheriff Court today Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown sentenced Jean Ozan to a Community Payback Order after the offender pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
On sentencing, the Sheriff made the following statement in court:
“Mr Ozan, I have taken into account what has been said on your behalf by your
solicitor, as well as the terms of the report from criminal justice social work and the
victim impact statements. Ultimately, after careful consideration, I have decided
that an alternative to custody is available in your case. I will set out the sentence that
I am imposing first and then I will explain the reasons for my decision.
Given the seriousness of your offence, I have decided to impose a community
payback order with a requirement for the maximum amount of unpaid work, which
is 300 hours. That will be reduced by one third to 200 hours in light of your guilty
plea at the outset, and is an alternative to custody. If you breach your community
payback order, then a custodial sentence may be imposed in its place. I will allow
two years for you to complete those hours in light of the pandemic – it may be
possible for you to complete them sooner than that.
I am also obliged to disqualify you from driving and require you to sit the
extended test to regain your licence. Given the seriousness of the offence, I will
disqualify you from driving for a period of three years. That will be reduced by one
third to two years in light of your guilty plea at the outset. It will also be backdated
to the date of your interim disqualification on 10 November 2020.
As you have acknowledged, the offence of causing serious injury by
dangerous driving to which you have pled guilty is serious and would usually
attract a custodial sentence. It is clear from the victim impact statements that Mr and
Mrs Guest have both suffered serious physical injuries, as well as long lasting
emotional and psychological injuries.
Mr Guest still requires to undergo physiotherapy. Mrs Guest has been left
with pain and requires assistance with daily tasks. It is a testament to their dignity
that they have said that they bear you no animosity, despite the way that your
actions have changed their lives.
However, section 204(2) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995
provides that I may not impose a custodial sentence on a first offender such as
yourself unless no other method of dealing with you is appropriate.
For the reasons that I will outline, I am satisfied that a non-custodial sentence
is appropriate in the particular circumstances of this case, which are unusual.
Firstly, while the nature of your driving was dangerous in that you drove on
the wrong side of the road, it was not intentional. You had just returned from a visit
to France and made an error in driving on the right hand side of the road. When
you saw Mr & Mrs Guest approaching, you believed in error that they were driving
on the wrong side of the road and instinctively steered to the right. Though you
slowed down, a collision could not be avoided. There was no suggestion of drink,
drugs, tiredness, distraction, speeding or driving aggressively.
Secondly, you immediately accepted responsibility for the collision. You
were unconscious for a short time but when you woke up you realised what had
happened, admitted you were driving on the wrong side of the road and that the
collision was your fault. You pled guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Thirdly, you have expressed considerable remorse for the injuries that you
caused to Mr & Mrs Guest, for example, I note that you have been praying for them,
together with the church that you attend. You have insight into the impact of your
offending on them and the risk of further offending has been assessed by social work
as very low.
The Scottish Sentencing Council’s Principles and Purposes of Sentencing
Guideline makes it clear that in weighing up all the relevant factors of your case, I
am required to impose a sentence which is no more severe than is necessary.
I am of the view that in light of all the particular circumstances of this unusual
case, the non-custodial sentence I have imposed achieves the purposes of
punishment and societal disapproval, as well as the opportunity for effective
rehabilitation and to make amends.”
27 January 2021