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HMA v Kunathilinghan Mohanthas


May 13, 2024

At the High Court in Kilmarnock today, Lord Clark sentenced Kunathilinghan Mohanthas to 7 years 6 months’ imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to a charge of culpable homicide. He has also been disqualified from driving for 13 years and 9 months and will be required to sit an extended test before being able to drive again.

On sentencing, Lord Clark said:

"Kunathilinghan Mohanthas, you have pled guilty to killing Christopher Hanton, by driving a car at him and hitting him, which caused him to fall to the ground and sustain a fatal head injury.

This happened on Saturday 5 August 2023. Mr Hanton ordered a taxi through the Uber app to be picked up at George Street in Glasgow. You arrived just after 10.30pm.

Mr Hanton got into the rear of the vehicle and shortly thereafter you asked him to get out. You went back into the driver’s seat and began to perform a three-point turn. While you were doing so Mr Hanton approached the rear of the taxi and struck it with an open hand.

As you continued with this manoeuvre, Mr Hanton walked round to the front of the vehicle and stood within the road.  Your vehicle was stationary in the middle of the road.  You then drove it forwards. The agreed narrative explains that to complete the three-point turn you had to steer to the right but instead you made a sudden turn to the left, towards Mr Hanton who was struck by the front of the vehicle, causing him to fall backwards and strike his head on the roadway. The CCTV footage shows how he was hit. You did not stop but instead continued by steering to the right again, completed your turn and drove off from the scene. 

Tragically, the head injury resulted in his death on 9 August 2023. 

You did not intend to kill him but this was not an accident.

In reaching my decision on the appropriate sentence, I have taken into account everything said on your behalf today by Mr Jackson KC as well as what is said in the Criminal Justice Social Work report about your background. The report notes, as has also been said by Mr Jackson KC, that you accept full responsibility and show remorse for your conduct. You recognise the devastating impact your actions have had on the victim’s family and on your own. This crime was not pre-meditated and your violent conduct was spontaneous. I note that you have no previous convictions that are analogous to this crime. I have read the letters sent to the court, giving references on your behalf, and Mr Jackson KC has read out an additional letter.  

I have also read over the Victim Impact Statements from family members of Mr Hanton. They explain, in deeply moving terms, the dreadful consequences your conduct has had for them.

There is no sentence I can pass that can even begin to alleviate their suffering from this terrible event.

Having regard to the culpability and harm of your conduct, and also taking into account all mitigating factors, if you had been convicted after a trial I would have imposed a custodial sentence of 11 years.

You pled guilty at an early stage and I am required to have regard to the utilitarian value of the timing of that guilty plea.

You are therefore sentenced to 7 years 6 months’ imprisonment, which will run from 7 August 2023 when you were first remanded in custody.

You are also disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of 13 years and 9 months, comprising a 10 year period extended by half of the period of your custodial sentence. After that disqualification period you will require to re-sit an extended test of driving competence before you will be allowed to drive again.”

13 May 2024