Passenger of drink-driver left scarred

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A MAN who crashed his work van after an evening of drinking on the beach – leaving one of his passengers requiring surgery – has been sentenced to community service and banned from driving for three years.

Sebastian Michael Wilkinson (19) drove with four passengers in the back of his Ford Transit without seats or seatbelts, and another passenger in the front seat. He said his van ‘clipped something’ before crashing into a sea wall and two parked cars.

The incident resulted in one passenger suffering a broken nose, which is ‘still out of shape’ and another requiring a metal plate after suffering two broken bones in their arm, the Royal Court heard.

Crown Advocate Lauren Hallam, prosecuting, said: ‘[The injured passenger] was in a plaster cast for four weeks following surgery and was unable to work for eleven weeks. [The injured passenger] still has pain and weakness in this arm, is undergoing physiotherapy and has significant permanent scarring due to the surgery.’

Advocate Hallam added that Wilkinson had ‘lost control’ of the van after he passed Le Hurel slip in La Grande Route des Sablons, in Grouville.

The back of Wilkinson’s van photographed after the collision. (35384015)

Wilkinson, who had no previous convictions, admitted to drinking ‘three or four’ cans of cider with friends at Green Island beach when he was questioned by a police officer on 6 July 2022. While at the police station following his arrest, the defendant, who was 18 at the time, registered 46 micrograms of alcohol in his system. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

He pleaded guilty to one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and another of driving while over the alcohol limit.

Advocate Hallam said that while Wilkinson has ‘the benefit of youth’, his sporadic use of cannabis and binge drinking made him a ‘moderate risk’ of re-offending in the next 12 months.

However, Advocate David Steenson, defending, said: ‘He takes what he’s done seriously. He’s genuinely sorry.

‘A client being genuinely sorry is probably the most mitigation that can be put forward. He has chosen not to drive [since the incident], even though his driving interim ban has been imposed recently.

While the Crown had initially called for a driving ban of four years, Advocate Steenson labelled this ‘an extremely long ban’ given that his client needed to drive as part of his job.

‘I’m hoping that the court will accept that he is a young man and that he has lots of good features going for him.

‘People in his van didn’t want to come in as prosecution witnesses… this speaks volumes that they think he’s a decent bloke,’ said Advocate Steenson.

Delivering the court’s sentence, the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, presiding, said that due to the passenger load, condition of the vehicle and way the van was being driven, Wilkinson had ‘deliberately risked the safety of your passengers’.

‘We are prepared to treat this as a youthful mistake. You have learned from the error of your ways and we are confident that we won’t see you before this court or any court again,’ he added.

Wilkinson was sentenced to 220 hours of community service and a three-year driving ban, in addition to a fine of £500.

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