Over-the-limit rider responsible for father-of-four’s death to face sentence later this month
A motorcyclist who was more than double the drink-driving limit when he caused the death of a father of four later told police he had never held a valid driving licence, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.
Ishmael Lightbourne, 41, also admitted to officers that his motorbike had no front brakes and was unlicensed and uninsured.
Lightbourne admitted that he caused the death of 39-year-old Shannon Davis by driving while impaired.
The court heard that witnesses saw Lightbourne riding a motorcycle on Blue Hole Hill in Hamilton Parish at a high rate of speed at about 6.40pm on March 1, 2019.
Onlookers added that Lightbourne overtook one vehicle and just missed hitting a second before he reached a roundabout and continued west along North Shore Road.
Another witness said she had “braced for impact” and was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision with Lightbourne as she drove east with her young daughter near Duck’s Puddle.
Lightbourne later attempted to overtake a car near the entrance to Panorama Drive and collided with Mr Davis’s motorbike, which was in the eastbound lane.
Javone Rogers, for the Crown, said: “The impact resulted in Mr Davis being thrown from his motorcycle, landing face down on a grassy verge, off of the road, with the motorcycle on top of his lower body.
“The defendant subsequently collided with the motor car. That impact resulted in the defendant being thrown from his motorcycle and on to the road.”
Lightbourne was able to get up after the collision and sat on a nearby wall.
But Mr Davis was unconscious when the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the crash scene.
Lightbourne was later found to have suffered broken ribs, but Mr Davis was pronounced dead by King Edward VII Memorial Hospital doctors at 8.39pm.
Blood samples taken from Lightbourne at the hospital revealed he had 162 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood – double the legal limit of 80mg/100mg.
Officers who investigated the collision discovered that Lightbourne’s motorcycle had no front brakes and the vehicle’s licence plate did not belong to the machine.
Further inquiries revealed that the motorcycle had not been licensed or insured since 2016.
Lightbourne was arrested at the hospital and admitted that he had four beers before he got on the bike.
He also told police that he was aware his motorcycle was not licensed or insured and confessed that he had never held a valid driving licence.
Lightbourne pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Davis by impaired driving.
He also admitted causing the death of Mr Davis by driving with a dangerous drug in his system and a charge of dangerous driving.
The first offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 years behind bars.
Mr Rogers read a statement from Mr Davis’s widow, Keishai Davis, who said the day her husband died was the worst of her life.
She wrote: “I felt like my body went into shock and I tried to find out how to tell my kids.
“When my kids arrived I had to hold everything I was feeling inside and be strong for them.”
Mr Davis’s sister said he had an infectious, positive energy and was a beacon of logic who helped resolve family disputes.
She added that Mr Davis’s four children were his life and that he had done everything in his power to make sure they knew that.
Mr Rogers said that Lightbourne had shown a blatant disregard for the safety of others and asked for a prison sentence of four and a half years.
He added that Lightbourne was entitled to a discount for an early guilty plea, but that there were no other mitigating factors.
But Victoria Greening, who appeared for Lightbourne, said he was extremely remorseful and deeply regretted his actions.
She said that Lightbourne had attempted to plead guilty before prosecutors had disclosed all the evidence and later insisted that he should admit all the alleged offences without an approach to the Crown about potentially removing any of the charges from the indictment.
Ms Greening said Lightbourne knew he had made a “terrible mistake” by getting on a motorcycle after drinking and understood that he would go to jail.
But she said that, based on legal precedent and his early guilty plea, a sentence of two years would be appropriate.
Ms Greening added that Lightbourne was prepared to go through a period of probation after he was released.
Lightbourne told a member of Mr Davis’ family, who was present for the hearing that he was full of remorse.
He said: “I’m sorry for my action and I have made changes in my life to make sure that this can never happen again.
“I am extremely sorry that it has taken so much time to resolve. I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe deferred sentence until January 21 and released Lightbourne on bail.
• Correction: A previous version of this article said that Mr Davis’ widow was present in the court room. This has been corrected to say that a member of Mr Davis’ family was present. We apologise for the error.
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