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Collision cost mother a toe while son needed heart surgery

A man who caused a traffic collision that seriously injured a mother and son has had his period of disqualification slashed by the Supreme Court.

Dwayne Creary was banned from driving all vehicles for five years for the 2018 crash which cost the mother her toe and left her teenage son in need of heart surgery.

But Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams reduced the period to two years after she found the magistrate had incorrectly sentenced Creary as if he were a repeat offender for what was a single incident.

“In this case, one offence was committed, albeit that the effects of that offence were doubly horrendous,” she said. “The magistrate was statutorily duty bound to treat the appellant as a first-time offender, notwithstanding that the single accident caused serious injury to more than one person.

“Put another way, the number of persons made victim to the single accident was not capable of placing the appellant in a category outside of that of a first-offender.”

The court heard that on July 1, 2018, the complainant was riding a motorcycle east along South Road in Paget with her teenaged son on the back of the vehicle.

As she approached the entrance to the Elbow Beach Hotel, she was struck head-on by Creary, who was travelling west at a high rate of speed when he drifted into the eastbound lane.

As a result of the collision, the mother suffered multiple fractures to her pelvis and her femur and her big toe was amputated.

She also had to be flown to New England Baptist Hospital in Boston for surgery.

Her son also suffered injuries in the collision, most seriously a cardiovascular arterial tear which required surgery at Lahey Health Clinic in Massachusetts.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams added: “Undoubtedly, it was a horribly traumatic experience for both her and her son who both continue to suffer the long-term effects of their injuries.”

After a trial in Magistrates’ Court, Creary was found guilty of two counts of causing grievous bodily harm by driving without due care and attention.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said at his sentencing that the crash had caused serious injuries to two people and extensive damage to both vehicles involved.

He added: “Both you and the complainants are lucky no one was killed. It could have happened. In which case you would be facing a more grave charge before the Court.”

Mr Tokunbo banned Creary from the road for two-and-a-half years for each offence, with the periods to run consecutively, along with $5,000 in fines.

However Creary appealed the sentence on the basis that the period of disqualification was longer than legally allowed for the offence.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said that while she understood the magistrate’s reasoning, he had wrongly sentenced Creary on the basis that he had committed two offences.

“Admittedly, in a case involving such grave injury to more than one person, it seems only fair that the sentence should reflect the harm done to each person,” she said.

“However, the effect of the disqualification provisions under the 1976 Act are not contingent on the number of persons injured in any single offending act.

“The relevant question is how many offences were committed?”

She added that under the legislation a two-year period of disqualification was “obligatory” for first time offenders and the magistrate did not have discretion to extend it further.