A van driver who ran over and killed a three-year-old boy has become the first person to be sentenced for causing death by careless driving in Jersey.
Rebekah Le Gal was given suspended jail sentence of eight months, suspended for two years, at the Royal Court on Thursday (27 July). She was cleared last month of causing death by dangerous driving but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.
The Royal Court in Jersey where the case was heard
According to the BBC, she is the first person to be sentenced for causing death by careless driving in Jersey since the offence was introduced to the island two years ago.
The court heard that three-year old Clinton Pringle was crossing Tunnel Street in St Helier, while on holiday in Jersey in June 2016 when Le Gal failed to see him and hit him with her van.
The prosecution said she ‘had not been paying attention’ to signs including those stating ‘No entry’ and ‘Give way’ and had not noticed the boy’s mother and aunt ‘screaming and waving’ as she approached.
The court also heard that Le Gal had used her mobile phone behind the wheel shortly before the collision but her defence denied that this was a factor.
Reports said the ‘shared space’ road was only meant to be used by vehicles for local access. The defence said the road layout in the area ‘directly contributed to the tragedy’.
Following the verdict last month, Clinton’s father, Michael Pringle said: ‘Serious concerns have been raised in the UK over shared space road areas similar to that in place at Millennium Town Park. The courts and the Government have ruled that these spaces discriminate against certain groups in society.
‘How town planners and designers have disregarded these views is beyond my comprehension.'
In a statement, the Parish of St Helier said: 'In December 2016 the Parish received an independent Safety Audit of the roads surrounding Millennium Town Park, specifically Gas Place, Tunnel Street, La Raccourche and Robin Place.
'At its meeting on 22 March 2017 the St Helier Roads Committee approved changes to Gas Place that will eliminate through traffic as recommended by the Safety Report. These proposed changes will be shortly released for public consultation.
'The Safety Report also recommended measures to restrict further vehicular access to Tunnel Street but the Parish will not be in a position implement these until the conclusion of all legal matters; the Parish maintains that the additional signage provided in the area is sufficient to indicate to pedestrians accessing the Millennium Town Park from Belmont Road that they are entering shared space.
'The Parish reiterates its condolences to the Pringle family for the tragic loss of their son Clinton.'
The Parish added that it cannot make any further comment until it has had the opportunity to examine what was said in court and to consult its legal advisers.