The tragic death of Cerys Edwards has raised the question of whether the driver responsible for her catastrophic injuries can be charged with death by dangerous driving.
Cerys died on Saturday 17th October, just two weeks short of her 10th birthday.
She was just one year old when the driver of a Range Rover Sport, Antonio Singh Boparan, crashed into her parents’ car in Sutton Coldfield in November, 2006.
The collision left Cerys paralysed, unable to speak and permanently dependent on a ventilator. She endured dozens of major operations in the years following the collision and required round-the-clock care, expertly provided by Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Slater and Gordon represented Cerys’ family in a serious injuries claim that settled in 2012, where Judge Martin McKenna at Birmingham County Court described the case as “the saddest case I’ve come across.”
Cerys’ family have paid tribute to her bravery over the last nine years and have described Cerys as having a smile that “would melt the hearts of anyone.”
Boparan, the speeding driver who caused Cerys’ catastrophic injuries, was driving on the wrong side of the road in a powerful vehicle when he collided with the Edwards family’s car.
West Midlands Police managed to obtain black box evidence and found that Boporan was driving over 70 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Boporan could have faced up to 14 years in prison if Cerys had died at the time of the collision, but instead he served just six months of a 21-month sentence after being found guilty of dangerous driving.
The sentence sparked public outrage and a call for tougher sentences, which led to a landmark change in the law, known as ’Cerys’ Law’. Now, anyone convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving could face up to five years in prison. Previously, the maximum sentence was just two years.
Whether Boporan will be charged with death by dangerous driving depends on the outcome of a post mortem. Superintendent Paul Keasey, of West Midlands Police, said, “The case may be reviewed if a post-mortem examination is carried out and is able to establish a causal link between the collision and her death.”
The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed it would need a new police file before considering whether to charge Boporan with causing death by dangerous driving.
Even though Cerys died from a secondary infection, it is inconceivable that anyone could consider her death to be caused by anything other than the catastrophic injuries she sustained in the collision.
Mrs Edwards is grieving now for the loss of her young child in such terrible circumstances – it’s something no mother should ever have to go through.
She hopes the tougher sanctions introduced by what has become known as ’Cerys’ law’ will deter others from driving dangerously and will mean that no other family has to endure what they have been through.
Richard Langton is a Principal Personal Injury Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Birmingham.
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