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HMA v Sami Ula Jabbar


Aug 16, 2022

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Mulholland sentenced Sami Ula Jabbar to 5 years imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for 12 years and 6 months after the offender pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

On sentencing Lord Mulholland made the following remarks in court:

“Sami Ula Jabbar, you have pled guilty to causing the death of a 16 year old cyclist, Harley Smith.  What happened was entirely avoidable.  The speed limit for the residential street was 30 mph.  This was the maximum permitted speed and any safe and responsible driver would have driven at a lower speed to take account of the fog and damp road conditions.  You did not do this.  Instead, you drove at 80 mph which is a speed which is breathtaking in its dangerousness. 

Your speed was so dangerous that a pedestrian signalled to you to slow down.  Further when negotiating a roundabout your vehicle tilted and a pedestrian thought you were losing control of the vehicle.  Further, you navigated around a bus by entering the opposing lane contrary to the keep left bollard situated on the road there.  You drove as if it was a chicane on a race track.

Harley Smith was cycling, crossing the road at the time.  Had you been driving at a normal and safe speed this tragedy wouldn’t have happened and he would be alive today realising his full potential as the young man that he was.  I have read all the VISs and it clear to me that he was a fine young man, full of potential, loved by his family and friends.  This is a tragedy for them and I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to them. 

As I said to you on 27 May 2022, cyclists have as much right to navigate the Queens highway as motorists and they have a right to feel safe and be safe.  It would be wrong to describe this as an accident as it is not.  It was a deliberate course of dangerous driving which has resulted in a precious life being lost and you will have to live with that for the rest of your life, as the family of Harley Smith will also have to.  You have delivered to them a life sentence of grief and profound loss.  This should not have happened and you are criminally responsible for this young man’s death. 

You have a criminal record which includes a number of driving offences, namely driving without a license, insurance and an MOT (30 June 2010) and careless driving (31 May 2013).  You have learned nothing from your past misdemeanours.  In fact, you were the subject to two bail orders at the time which shows a cavalier attitude to authority. 

I have listened carefully to your counsel and I take into account what he said on your behalf and I also take into account the various testimonials submitted on your behalf.  I also take into account your criminal record, your appalling driving and the consequences of your driving including the heart wrenching victim impact statements.  I also take into account the timing of your plea of guilty as I am bound in law to do so and the sentence that I am about to impose will take account of that.  I also take into account the relevant caselaw and sentencing guidelines applicable to such cases. 

Had you not pled guilty when you did, I would have sentenced you to 7 years and 6 months’ imprisonment.  Taking into account the timing of your plea of guilty, I sentence you to 5 years’ imprisonment.  I apportion 6 months’ imprisonment to the bail aggravation.  I also order your license to be endorsed and disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving license for 12 years and 6 months and until you pass the extended test. I will order that the sentence should run from 27 May 2022 the date you were first ordered into custody for this matter ”