SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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Ednilson do Rosario de Ceita

 

Nov 26, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Beckett sentenced Ednilson do Rosario de Ceita to 6 years imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for 9 years after the offender was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

 

On sentencing, Lord Beckett made the following statement in Court:

“Mr De Ceita, the jury found you guilty of causing the death of Jonathan Smith, by dangerous driving, in a collision which came to involve other vehicles and which injured your passengers. You were also found guilty of an offence under section 3ZB of the Road Traffic Act by virtue of your causing Mr Smith’s death by driving without valid licence and insurance.

Whilst I learn from the Social Work Report that you continue to deny your guilt, I accept that you have expressed and felt remorse for the consequences of the accident in which you were involved. However, I also consider that a significant part of your concern relates to the consequences for you and your own family.

I take account of all of the information in the report notably that you have no previous convictions. I acknowledge that you are someone who had a difficult upbringing and in your adult life you have a consistent employment history. You have family responsibilities which include those towards your two young children.

I take into account all of the points made on your behalf by senior counsel this morning.

I should explain that I do not accept that however badly another vehicle may have been driving before the commission of this offence it made such a material contribution to this accident as to mitigate your culpability. On the evidence in the trial, it is quite clear that the car which had been grossly speeding in the opposing carriageway had returned to the correct road position well before the collision. It is the manner of your driving which caused this fatal accident.

I recognise that you have not previously been sent to prison and that prison will be daunting and difficult for you.

However, you brought all of this on yourself when, despite having your partner and daughter in the car, you chose to drive at excessive speed at night, crossing a double white line and into a hatched area of the opposing carriageway, which I consider was caused by you looking away when your interest was engaged by a message your partner had received. Your dangerous driving caused a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle being driven lawfully, within the speed limit, and in the proper lane by Mr Smith. Your car was travelling at about 60 mph or more despite your having just proceeded through a roundabout. You gave Mr Smith no chance of surviving the collision. 

Driving without a valid licence and without insurance in the circumstances are further aggravating features to be considered.

Jonathan Smith was a wholly innocent young man. He had spent much of his last day caring for a brother who was recovering from serious illness. He was driving home to the house he shared with his father and was only minutes away when, with no warning, his life was ended and his family and friends are left with the permanent pain of his irreplaceable loss. His relatives have suffered both their own grief and the further grief of seeing the impact of Jonathan’s death on others in the family.

I have read harrowing statements from his father, his mother and his brothers and have learned of his life and work and hopes and dreams. They explain the devastation brought on them and their whole extended family by the death of the deeply loved Jonathan who was so central in all of their lives. I will not repeat the detail but I am left in no doubt that a number of his close relatives have suffered grievous consequences for their physical and mental health, wellbeing and lifestyle.

The sentence I will pass is not in any sense a measure of the value of the life that has been lost. There is no sentence that I can pass which can have any impact on the loss and grief felt by Jonathan Smith’s loving family and by his friends.

Having balanced all of the factors to which I have referred and the points made in your favour by Mr Renucci, and making my own assessment of the evidence which I heard, and having considered sentencing guidance for cases of this kind, I have reached the conclusion that there is no alternative to a prison sentence because of the gravity of the crimes which you committed. It is necessary to seek to protect the public by deterring you and others from driving dangerously and to punish you for doing so and causing the death of Jonathan Smith. 

You will go to prison for 6 years, backdated to 29 October 2021 when you were remanded in custody at the end of your trial and an appropriate disqualification from driving is for 6 years.

The law says I must include an extension of the disqualification to take account of your period in prison.

You are disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 9 years and until you pass the extended driving test and your licence is endorsed.”

26 November 2021