A 26-year-old woman charged with ‘causing serious injury by dangerous driving’ following an accident last September has been spared jail.
Sarah de la Haye was also in the Royal Court to be sentenced for a second offence: dangerous driving.
The court heard how just minutes before the accident she had been spotted by various witnesses riding her Yamaha 125 in a dangerous manner along the coast road heading into town.
She then hit a pedestrian who was midway across the road trying to cross from the beach to the Ambassadeur Hotel. One witnesses to the incident described how the visitor seemed to be like a ‘rabbit in the headlights’: not knowing what to do – go forward, go back, or stay put. Whilst another thought the victim probably didn’t know what had happened. People who came to her aid found her on the tarmac with blood coming from her head. The 70-year-old’s skull had been fractured.
She was treated for her injuries at the hospital and was later able to return to the UK, although she still has problems hearing, and her confidence has been seriously affected. The bike rider hit the low wall near the hotel and was also taken to hospital, but released shortly afterwards.
Sentencing Miss de la Haye Royal Court Commissioner Sir Michael Birt said usually the court would have sent her to prison because of the serious nature of the accident, and because it appeared from the earlier reports of careless driving, that this was not a one off, a momentary lapse in concentration. He told her: “you had ample time to see her [the elderly lady], and you should have slowed down”. But, he also noted there was no evidence of speeding, or that she’d been drinking, or had been distracted by using a mobile phone. He also said he had to take her age into consideration, that she’d been remorseful, had no previous convictions, excellent references, and difficult personal circumstances. She was given a combined sentence of 120 hours community service – the equivalent of six months in prison.
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