Despite a change in the law, Violet’s parents are demanding lenient sentences

Violet-Grace Youens’ parents, who have been campaigning for a change in the law, have urged judges to have the courage to enact new sentencing guidelines.

Violet-Grace Youens died in March 2017 after being hit by a speeding car on Prescot Road.

She was four years old.

St Helens Star: Violet-Grace Youens

The driver of that vehicle, Aidan McAteer, was sentenced to nine years and four months for manslaughter by dangerous driving. He was released last year.

In light of his sentence, Violet’s heartbroken parents, Glenn and Becky Youens, started an online petition calling for the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving to be increased from 15 years to life in prison.

The petition garnered 167,000 signatures and a parliamentary debate. This eventually led to the change in law that came into effect in June 2022.

St Helens Star: Rebecca and Glenn Youens outside Liverpool Crown Court after Aidan McAteer was jailed for nine years and four months

In cases where the incident occurred after that date, judges can now consider the new sentencing guidelines when sentencing.

However, in light of the recent court cases, Glenn and Becky are summoning judges, arguing that they are not using their new judgmental powers.

One such case where the Youens feel “betrayed” by the justice system is that of father-to-be Chris Smith, a 41-year-old man who was killed on November 15, 2022 on the M6 ​​Thelwall Viaduct after John Yates was under the influence of drugs standing driver, collided with him after reaching speeds of around 200 km/h.

St. Helens Star:

He fled the scene and pleaded guilty, but was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison, two-thirds of which he will serve.

Glenn and Becky Youens said: “When we’ve poured our hearts out and kept telling our story that keeps breaking our hearts to change the law, it’s an insult that judges aren’t now exercising their discretionary powers that They have .

“The guidelines may not have been written yet, but that doesn’t stop the judges from imposing harsher sentences, but our daughter was let down.

“Just like Chris Smith’s unborn son was abandoned by them. He will never know his father, and we have fought for justice so families like ours can at least know their loved ones are getting justice.

“We just feel like we let him and Violet down because the judges didn’t apply those laws to their full extent, they betrayed us, Violet’s memory, and our sacrifice to bring that law in place.”

The star reached out to the Sentencing Council to challenge Yate’s ruling, and a spokesperson released the following statement: “Due to changes in the law, the Sentencing Council is revising its guidelines for sentencing for traffic offences, including cause of death from dangerous driving.

“The new guidelines are expected to come into force later this year.

“Meanwhile, the existing guideline on homicide by dangerous driving draws the courts’ attention to the change in the maximum penalty.

“Courts must follow the guidance unless it is not in the interests of the judiciary and can take into account the availability of the higher maximum sentence when sentencing offenders.”

Read – M6 crash: Pregnant partner pays tribute to father-to-be Chris Smith

The star also contacted the Justice Department, who said: “Our thoughts remain with Chris Smith’s family.

“Dangerous drivers ruin lives, and although individual judges decide sentences, our new laws have increased the maximum sentence to life imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving.” Despite a change in the law, Violet’s parents are demanding lenient sentences

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