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HMA v Jordan Lawrence


Jul 18, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Beckett sentenced Jordan Lawrence to 8 years in prison after the offender was found guilty of causing the deaths of two people by drunk driving. Lawrence was also convicted for leaving the scene and failure to notify the emergency services. He is disqualified from driving for 12 years.

On sentencing, Lord Beckett said: “I have considered everything said in mitigation, and the content of the report outlining your current personal circumstances which I take into account. I recognise that you have no previous convictions and that prison will be daunting.

You were 22 years old at the time of this incident and you are now 25. Your age at the time of the incident has some limited bearing on your culpability, but there has been no suggestion that you were an inexperienced driver and it seems you had been driving since you were 17. You hardly needed maturity to realise that driving as you did was dangerous for your passengers.

I note that you suffered some injury. You have expressed regret for the death of two people with whom you were close in different ways but you accept no responsibility.

There are significantly aggravating features in this case. The jury were satisfied that you drove at excessive speed, whilst unfit due to consumption of alcohol, and failed to maintain observations. This was a narrow single track road on which you were driving in the dark. Having caused a fatal accident which left your two passengers fatally injured, you left the scene without calling the emergency services so that the level of alcohol which could be detected by the police diminished. They had to seek and find you about 12 hours after the accident. The jury properly found you guilty, on charge 4, of failing to report the accident.

I have read from their relatives of the terrible consequences for the respective families of Jasmine Herron and Jonathan Graham many of whom were present during the trial and again today. There is no sentence I can pass which matches the value of the two lives that have been lost or can have any impact on the overwhelming loss and grief felt by their families and friends.

Ms Herron was 19 when she died. She leaves her mother and father and nine half-brothers and sisters. Her mother has described the awful impact of Jasmine’s sudden death on her and her children. Her mother has suffered terrible consequences for her health, wellbeing, lifestyle and circumstances following the death of her beloved daughter who was like a best friend to her.

Mr Graham was 37 and leaves his wife and their family of three young boys. He is also survived by his parents and brother and sister. His wife was so traumatised that she has had to take time off her work and has suffered considerable deterioration in her health. Each morning she awakes to the agony of a renewed memory that her husband has died. There have been considerable practical and emotional consequences following the death of her husband. Her young children have suffered serious and enduring impact on their wellbeing.

For such a serious crime there is no suitable alternative to a prison sentence on charge 1. It is necessary to punish you, to seek to deter you and others from driving in such a dangerous manner and to protect the public from you. Taking full account of all relevant circumstances, including what has been said in mitigation, you will go to prison for 8 years which is backdated to 5 June 2023 when you were remanded in custody.

An appropriate period of disqualification would be for 8 years but I must take account of your time in prison and so you are disqualified from driving for 12 years and until you pass the extended driving test. Your licence is endorsed.

On charge 4 you are sentenced, concurrently, to imprisonment for 6 months also backdated to 5 June 2023. On charge 4 you would have been disqualified for 2 years but taking account of your time in prison you are disqualified for 2 years and 3 months and your licence is endorsed.”

18 July 2023