Off-road motorcyclist who left pedestrian brain damaged has sentence cut

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A MOTORCYCLIST jailed after causing serious injury to a pedestrian he ran over in Sheffield with an off-road bike has had his sentence cut by the Court of Appeal.

Ashley Staniland, aged 25, was left brain damaged and facing a lifetime blighted by facial scarring after he was run over as he crossed a road in Chapeltown in August 2009.

In July, Gavin Brett Skinner, 23, of Acacia Avenue, Burncross, was jailed for two years after admitting dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report the accident.

Following an appeal by Skinner’s lawyers, Mr Justice Eady and Mr Justice Simon cut his sentence by four months - to 20 months - at London’s Court of Appeal.

Mr Justice Simon ruled Skinner’s evasion of justice had been of “short duration” and may have been prompted by shock at what had happened.

He was riding the off-road bike at night with a pillion passenger, despite there being no seat or foot rest, the appeal judge told the court.

The bike, which had no lights, indicators or warning sound, struck Mr Staniland as he crossed at a pedestrian crossing, causing his serious injuries.

Skinner, shocked, was tended to by a member of the public, but appeared panicky and struck out, before walking away before emergency services arrived.

He was arrested the following morning, visibly distressed and crying.

He admitted he ran away from the scene because he was scared of what might happen.

The court heard Mr Staniland was badly affected by what happened.

He was in hospital for 10 days, had to have reconstruction surgery to mend his skull and was left with permanent facial scarring and epilepsy.

Prior to the accident, he had been in well-paid employment, but had since depended on benefits and was scared of going out alone in case he had a seizure.

Skinner’s lawyers told the court it had been wrong to impose a total of six months in consecutive sentences on their client for failure to stop or report the accident, on top of 18 months for dangerous driving.

Mr Justice Simon said: “There was nothing wrong with the sentence of 18 months for dangerous driving - the appellant should not have been driving at all, because he didn’t have a licence, and was driving a vehicle that should not have been on the road.

“We propose to reduce the sentence for failing to stop and failing to report to terms of two months and make them concurrent to each other, although consecutive to the sentence of 18 months.”

Skinner’s total sentence is now 20 months.