Liverpool’s top judge, Clement Goldstone, QC pointed out that the hit-and-run motorist, Patrick Smeda, won’t serve a single day of the sentence
A hit-and-run motorist who ploughed into a 16-year-old boy and left him dying alone after racing another high powered car has been jailed for eight years.
But an angry judge has pointed out that the driver, Patrick Smeda, won’t serve a single day of the sentence.
The 34-year-old was on licence when he committed the offence and so has been recalled to continue his previous 14 year sentence for an armed robbery.
Thomas Edwards sustained a serious head injury when he was struck by a black Audi car driven by Smeda, in Mossley Hill Drive near Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Liverpool’s top judge, Clement Goldstone, QC explained to Thomas’ grieving family how the law no longer permits him to order the sentence to run consecutively along Smeda’s current term.
He said: ‘It is my task and my duty to apply the law as it stands; it is for parliament to alter it if it is, as it would appear, unjust and contrary to the principles of punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation.’
The judge told the defendant, who is not due for release until November 2022, that he will be released at the end of his previous sentence ‘having served not a single day in prison preferable solely to this offence.
‘That restriction on the court’s sentencing powers may well be said by many right-thinking people to be adding a gross insult to the incalculable injury already suffered and to be suffered by Thomas Edward’s grieving family.
‘Believe me if I had the power and the law was different your sentence would start not now but at the conclusion of your period of licence.
Police arrested Smeda, of Alderson Road, Wavertree, three days after the collision on November 13.
Smeda, father-of-three, gave himself up and admitted he was the driver though he initially falsely claimed he had only left the scene after trying to summon assistance for Thomas.
Smeda, father-of-three (pictured right), gave himself up and admitted he was the driver though he initially falsely claimed he had only left the scene after trying to summon assistance for Thomas (pictured left)
On Friday, the defendant was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Thomas was on his way to see a friend when he was struck by the Audi at up to three times the speed limit, at around 7pm on November 13 last year.
‘He had the whole of a very promising life ahead of him; you snuffed out that young life in a piece of driving which was as dangerous as it was arrogant,’ said Judge Goldstone, the Recorder of Liverpool.
Smeda, who had been released on licence two years previous, had been spotted earlier that evening speeding in a friend’s Audi S3.
‘You were treating the the road as a race track and your driving was described as an accident waiting to happen. How sadly prophetic that description was,’ said Judge Goldstone.
Thomas’ father said: ‘We now know Patrick Smeda left our son to die all alone in the cold. We never had the opportunity to comfort him and hold his hand, that is something that will haunt us forever.’
Liverpool Crown Court (pictured) heard that Thomas was on his way to see a friend when he was struck by the Audi at up to three times the speed limit
Mr Edwards said that his family will never get over losing Thomas, whom he described as ‘one in a million. His gorgeous smile would brighten the darkest day.’
The grieving parents added: ‘He was a loving brother to his three sisters, we couldn’t have asked for a better son. He made us proud every day.
‘He was so excited to become an uncle for the first time, he’s already got a gift ready for when she arrives, but now he’ll never have the opportunity to meet his niece.
The court heard that Smeda has a previous conviction for dangerous driving in 2002 and was disqualified and ordered to take a re-test before getting back behind the wheel. He never took a re-test but the DVLA had ‘lost sight’ of that and he had declared the offence when he later obtained driving insurance.
Judge Goldstone banned him from driving for 11 years nine months.
John Rowan, defending, said that Smeda had to decide whether to crash into the back of the other Audi when it suddenly braked or overtake it and regrettably he went round it.
Mr Rowan added that Smeda was disgusted at his actions and ‘that disgust will remain with him for the rest of his life. He will never forgive himself.’