'Compassionate' crash victim's family urge judge not to jail careless driver

Bill McKenzie was given a community sentence for causing the death of Jay Morrison in a road crash in 2021.

Judge hails ‘compassion’ of family of Jay Morrison who urged her not to jail careless driver  Police Scotland

A judge has hailed the “compassion” of a family who urged her not to jail a driver whose actions caused the death of their son.

Lady Poole paid tribute to Jay Morrison’s relatives moments before she told Bill McKenzie, 21, he wouldn’t go to prison for his actions on September 27, 2021.

The High Court in Glasgow had heard how Jay was just 19 years old when he died following a crash in Pollok which happened because of how McKenzie had been driving in the moments before.

The accused’s actions led to him pleading guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving.

McKenzie, of Barrhead, appeared for sentencing before Lady Poole at the High Court in Edinburgh who heard of his remorse.

The 21-year-old was ordered to perform 300 hours of unpaid work in the community and to be supervised by the authorities for 12 months.

Passing sentence, Lady Poole told McKenzie: “Your actions on that day contributed to the death of Jay Morrison.

“Jay Morrison’s death was and still remains a tragedy for his family. They are to be commended for their compassion they have shown you.

“They have shown grace by saying they do not want to see you imprisoned.”

At earlier proceedings, prosecutor Gavin Dewar said that the impact of Jay’s death on his family “incalculable”.

However, he said that Jay’s driving that night – undertaking McKenzie at one stage – also “fell below the standards” to be expected.

Mr Dewar said: “Although they continue to grieve, Mr Morrison’s family are also realistic about – and acknowledge – the significant part that his actions played in bringing about this tragedy.

“They are keen that no further pain is caused to anyone else involved as a result of the death.

“While sentencing is always discretionary for the judge, the Crown, perhaps unusually, respectfully invites your ladyship to have regard for the views of the next of kin when considering the appropriate disposal in this most upsetting case.

“Mr Morrison’s family wish it to be said that they do not wish to see Mr McKenzie imprisoned for his role in what happened.”

Mr Dewar told how both McKenzie and Jay – who had each relatively recently passed their driving tests – were initially in the same lane.

The prosecutor added: “Jay Morrison undertook McKenzie. They drew level with each other with Jay Morrison now in another lane.

“He was gesticulating at McKenzie and his two passengers.

“McKenzie accelerated to keep pace.”

The charge stated McKenzie – who was also behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Corsa – drove in excess of the speed limit and in “close proximity” of Jay before braking to allow Jay to come back into the same lane to get by roadworks.

But, seconds later, Jay lost control, his car spun and hit a kerb before crashing into a bus stop and colliding with a lamp post which fell on top of the car.

One of McKenzie’s passengers dialled 999 and two police officers arrived and performed CPR until paramedics attended.

Jay was then rushed to hospital, but died the next day due to a fatal head injury.

The court heard the teenager was a “much-loved son, brother and friend”.

On Thursday, Mr Ross said the circumstances surrounding the death showed that his client could be spared prison.

He said that his client had displayed “extreme remorse” for his actions.

Mr Ross said McKenzie assisted the police in the aftermath of the incident by confirming he was the driver of the car and by providing “relevant” samples of breath.

The advocate also said that he had a good work record and a non custodial sentence would help his rehabilitation.

Lady Poole told McKenzie that she was also going to ban him from driving for five years.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in