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Call for tougher sentences in bid to deter motorists using mobiles

A senior PSNI roads officer has called for tougher sentences to be handed down for dangerous driving after a 21-year-old man was jailed for 13 months for knocking down and killing a pensioner.

Reacting to Edward Devlin's prison term, Inspector Rosemary Leech said that the victim's wife, Carol Bailie may feel that "justice hasn't been served".

Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors, such as intent and excessive violence. However, describing Ian Leonard Bailie's death as "desperately sad," Inspector Leech said that harsher sentences would deter people from driving illegally.

"We have seen other examples of road traffic collisions where the sentences would appear to be somewhat on the lighter side, and where they have been challenged," she said. "But possibly sentences need to be stiffer to dissuade and deter people from driving illegally.

Inspector Leech said sentencing remained a matter for the courts.

But she added: "I can understand that maybe Mrs Bailie may feel that justice really hasn't been fully served."

Jack Kushner, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity, said the case highlights why driving when distracted can be so deadly.

"Selfishly choosing to use a mobile phone behind the wheel can cause devastating consequences," he said.

"Shockingly lenient sentences like the one handed to Mr Devlin are a further insult to bereaved families. Courts should do everything in their power to deter dangerous driving."

Edward Devlin posted pictures of cars on Facebook months before the incident in October 2014.

He was handed a 27-month sentence - half to be served in custody.

Belfast Telegraph