There have been calls for a change to current motoring and licence laws, after motorist Mohammed Rashid walked away from court with community service, having run over and killed a pedestrian. Mr Rashid was unable to make out a licence plate from 7ft away, and admitted to having lost his glasses, but the presiding judge ruled that while it would have prudent to wear his glasses, it was not illegal to have failed to do so. Rashid received 140 hours of community service, 8 points on his licence, a 12 month ban, and was ordered to pay £500 costs.
Laurence Gunn and friend Marsha Peterson had visited two pubs in London before walking their dogs on Hampstead Heath. At 7pm, the pair were walking on a crossing on East Heath Rd when Rashid hit the journalist from Maida Vale in London. Mr Gunn later died from his injuries in hospital.
Mr Rashid had not been drinking, and it was also found that the road was well lit and the pedestrian crossing easy to spot. According to Judge Aidan Marron QC, the only aggravating factor was that Mr Rashid was not wearing his spectacles despite being extremely short sighted. However, the judge declared that while it would have been prudent to wear his glasses, and that it may have prevented the accident from happening, it was not illegal for him to be driving without them.
Rashid had previously pleaded not guilty to the charge of causing death by dangerous driving, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.
Although a prison sentence was a possibility, Mr Rashid, who was in his second year studying law at the time of the incident but has since quit his studies, avoided a custodial sentence, and instead received a 12 month ban, 8 penalty points, 140 hours of community service, and must pay £500 in costs. He must also meet with the victim’s family 12 times as part of a restorative justice programme. According to Mr Rashid’s barrister, he had already met with the victim’s father, who bears no grudges despite being understandably aggrieved.