The sentence handed to a hit-and-run driver who mowed down a resident who was protesting at his driving has been slammed as “appalling” by a road safety campaigner.
Fed-up Gerald Miller stepped into the road to try and stop boy racer Leo Smith from revving his engine and performing wheel skids along his Hunstanton street.
But the 20-year-old struck Mr Miller – throwing him on to the bonnet of the car – before driving off.
Smith, of Malt House Court, Snettisham, was banned from driving for 28 days and fined £200 with £105 costs after he admitted failing to stop following an accident at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
The sentence has been criticised by local road safety campaigner Paul Macey, who said a more serious charge should have been brought, and a heavier punishment imposed.
Mr Macey launched a petition for road safety measures in Lynn last year after holding the hand of three-year-old Rio Bell in the moments after he was fatally struck by a car during the Lynn Mart.
He said of Smith’s sentence: “It’s absolutely disgraceful how the justice system works in this country. This should have been dealt with properly but all he’s got is a slap on the wrist.
“On this occasion there were only minor injuries, but next time someone could be mown down and killed.”
Yvonne Neill, prosecuting, told the court Smith was “driving erratically” along Waveney Road, Hunstanton, at about 8.25pm on July 12.
She said Mr Miller and two other witnesses could hear an engine revving and tyres screeching, and they went outside to look.
She said: “Mr Miller stepped into the road and signalled for the driver to stop, but the car collided with him and he ended up on the bonnet. Thankfully he came away only with cuts and bruises.”
Police used the registration number to trace Smith, and he was arrested later that evening.
He told officers he could not brake in time to avoid the collision with Mr Miller and drove off because he “panicked”.
John McKenna, representing Smith, told magistrates he would be sacked from his job at a local holiday park if he lost his licence.
“It would be a great shame if, all because a bit of stupidity, that he lost his chance to be able to continue his work,” he said
Magistrates banned Smith for 28 days, instead of imposing six penalty points, as the points would have seen him lose his licence and been forced to re-take his driving test under new-driver legislation. Smith also admitted possessing £1.80 worth of cannabis at his home following the collision, but there was no separate penalty.
Mr Macey said the police and Crown Prosecution Service should have brought Smith to court on a more serious charge, such as dangerous driving.
He also believed Smith should have been banned for at least six months to send a message that this kind of driving will not be tolerated.
He said: “It should have been dealt with properly the first time, otherwise it will only cost the police more time and the taxpayer more money in future, as lessons won’t have been learned and it could happen again.
“What he (the driver) got was wholly unacceptable. He did it knowing his licence was at risk and potentially his job and he should have been made to live with the consequences of his actions.”