Runner jailed for six months for dangerous driving
Runner Lamont Marshall has been jailed for six months in Supreme Court this afternoon for injuring two people by dangerous driving.
The professional athlete appeared this afternoon before Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman, who told him: “You were an accident waiting to happen — and it happened.”
Marshall, who works as a trash collector for the City of Hamilton, pleaded guilty to the August 13, 2012 offence at an earlier appearance in Supreme Court.
The collision, in which motorcyclist Ian Scotton and pillion passenger Carley Lima were both injured, occurred at the junction of Middle and South Shore Road in Paget.
Marshall was driving a car east at 1.09am, and crossed over the centre line into the other lane. He also ran a red light and struck the westbound bike head on just a few metres east of the traffic lights, as the bike swerved to avoid the car.
Marshall, 28, well known as a distance runner and anti-conscription campaigner, had an early charge of causing grievous bodily harm through impaired driving dropped — although Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke pointed out that Marshall has since admitted to having an alcohol problem. Alcohol was not considered as a factor in today’s sentencing.
Summing up evidence for the prosecution, Ms Clarke told the court Mr Scotton was knocked into the verge of Paget Marsh by the impact and Ms Lima, who was flung to the road, was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital with a severe head injury that required blood to be drained from her skull. Both report lingering after-effects of their injuries. Ms Lima had months of facial paralysis and loss of hearing in one ear.
Mr Scotton “can’t live as he used to”, Ms Clarke said, and cannot take part in his regimental duties — or find work in his chosen profession.
Citing a “high degree of recklessness” and “disregard” in the defendant’s driving, Ms Clarke called for a three to six month sentence, suspended for two years with probation.
Marshall was represented today by lawyer Eugene Johnston, who disputed the prosecution’s claim that his client had been driving “very” aggressively earlier in the evening.
Mr Johnston also disputed the extent of the car’s crossing into the wrong lane and the substantiveness of Marshall’s running of the red light.
But he declined an offer from Mr Justice Hellman to challenge the evidence at a special hearing and conceded that the vehicle driven by Marshall had crossed over the centre line when it struck the oncoming motorcycle.
Mr Johnston asked for a community sentence for his client. Mr Justice Hellman declined to hear an argument that the accident had “burdened” Marshall — but Marshall is now under certain restrictions when travelling in the US, the court heard.
Addressing the court, Marshall, of Loyal Hill, Devonshire, told Mr Justice Hellman: “I am sorry for my involvement in the accident. Since then I have become a more cautious driver. I assure you I will never put myself in this predicament again.”
He was sentenced to six months in prison, immediately. Mr Justice Hellman also banned him from the roads for 18 months. Reparations for the offence are to be left the civil courts.
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