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Drink-driving teen’s van crash which broke friend's nose deemed “youthful mistake”

Drink-driving teen’s van crash which broke friend's nose deemed “youthful mistake”

Saturday 11 March 2023

Drink-driving teen’s van crash which broke friend's nose deemed “youthful mistake”

Saturday 11 March 2023

A teenager who crashed his work van carrying five friends after a night of drinking on the beach – leaving two with serious injuries – has avoided jail time after the Royal Court accepted that he had “learned from the error of [his] ways.”

Sebastian Michael Wilkinson (19) was instead sentenced to community service and handed a three-year driving ban over the collision, which saw one friend suffer a broken nose and another break two bones in their arm.

The Royal Court heard on Friday that he had driven four passengers without seats or seatbelts in the back of his work’s Ford Transit van – among toolboxes and loose drills, hammers, wrenches  and uncovered saws – and another in the front seat on 6 July 2022.

After one of the group was refused entry to a bar in town as they did not have ID, the friends bought alcohol from a shop and Wilkinson drove them to Green Island, where he drank “three or four cans of cider within about an hour”.


Pictured: The back of Wilkinson's work van after the collision.

As he drove the group back towards town along La Grande Route des Sablons shortly before 23:00, he "lose control of the van", crashing into the sea wall and two parked cars.

When police officers arrived, Wilkinson told them he had "clipped something" and that the van "did a 360". One smelt liquor on the defendant's breath, and made Wilkinson do a roadside breath test, which he failed.

He was arrested, while three passengers were taken to hospital by ambulance.

While at the police station following his arrest, the defendant, who was 18 at the time, registered 46 micrograms of alcohol in his system. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

He pleaded guilty to one count of driving while over the alcohol limit and another of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The Royal Court heard that one passenger's nose was "still out of shape and causes her problems", while another suffered "extensive bruising to her back and a large graze" near her pelvis.


Pictured: Damage to the parked cars.

Another required a metal plate in his arm due to suffering two breaks.

Crown Advocate Lauren Hallam, prosecuting said: "[The injured passenger] was in a plaster cast for four weeks following surgery and was unable to work for 11 weeks.

"[The injured passenger] still has pain and weakness in this arm, is undergoing physiotherapy and has significant permanent scarring due to the surgery."

Advocate Hallam said that while Wilkinson has "the benefit of youth", his sporadic use of cannabis and binge drinking put him at "moderate risk" of re-offending.

However, Advocate David Steenson, defending, said: "He takes what he's done seriously. He's genuinely sorry.

"A client being genuinely sorry is probably the most mitigation that can be put forward. He has chosen not to drive [since the incident], even though his driving interim ban has been imposed recently."

While the Crown had initially called for a driving ban of four years, Advocate Steenson labelled this "an extremely long ban", given that his client needed to drive as part of his job.

"I'm hoping that the court will accept that he is a young man and that he has lots of good features going for him.

"People in his van didn't want to come in as prosecution witnesses... this speaks volumes that they think he's a decent bloke," said Advocate Steenson.

Royal Court

Pictured: The case was heard in the Royal Court.

Delivering the court's sentence, the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, said: "[Through] the passenger load, condition of the vehicle and nature of your driving, you have deliberately risked the safety of your passengers.

"We are prepared to treat this as a youthful mistake. You have learned from the error of your ways and we are confident that we won't see you before this court or any court again."

Wilkinson was handed a sentence of 220 hours' community service and a three-year driving ban, in addition to a fine of £500.

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