Family demand drink drive law change after son's death
- 2 June 2010
- From the section Wales
The family of a man killed by a drink driver want the law changed after he was legally able to continue driving ahead of his trial.
Lee Rose, 21, died when his friend crashed a van after drinking nine pints of lager.
Daniel Isherwood of Maesteg, Bridgend county, was jailed after admitting causing death by careless driving.
Legal experts warn a change in the law may be a breach of a defendant's human rights.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Isherwood was three times over the limit when the van he was driving clipped a kerb at 45mph.
Mr Rose, was in the back of the white Volkswagen van without a seat belt when it left the road and fell into the River Llynfi.
Isherwood, 22, a water treatment engineer, was jailed for six years in March.
He was also banned from driving for 10 years for the crash, which happened at around 0200 GMT on Sunday 16 August last year.
But Mr Rose's family are angry that he was able to continue driving for seven months while awaiting trial.
His father Brian said it "stuck in the throat" that Isherwood was continuing to lead a "normal life" and had seemingly "not learnt any lessons" from what had happened.
"We didn't think he would be driving, it was just a few of Lee's friends said to me they had seen Isherwood driving around in a car which I was flabbergasted about really," he said.
"I mean, if I had done something like that, the last thing I would want to do is get back into a car straight away."
He said he would like to see the law changed so that once someone is charged with an offence like causing death by careless driving, their licence should be taken away until the trial ends.
"[Isherwood] could have done exactly the same thing again," he added.
"I'm not saying he would have but there's potential to do that again."
However, legal experts say any change in the law may infringe a defendant's human rights.
Kieron Malloy, a solicitor in Cardiff, said that in the UK, the law of innocent until proven guilty applies.
"You can't be disqualified because it's pre-judging the case," he said.
"They're pre-judging a disqualification pending conviction.
"One could say, what would happen if the person in fact went to trial and for some reason, maybe procedural irregularities or evidential difficulties, he was actually found not guilty.
"If he had been disqualified at the time he initially appeared in court he would, people would argue, have been unfairly disqualified pending the outcome of his case."