Hit and run driver who critically injured police officer sentenced to 15 months in jail

Hit and run incident last November sparked major investigation by Nottinghamshire Police

by Simon_MacMichael   September 28, 2012  

Gavel

A motorist who left a Nottinghamshire police officer nicknamed ‘Robocop’ with critical injuries when his car struck him as he cycled to the gym has been jailed for 15 months.

PC Diederik Coetzee, who acquired his nickname after he hit national headlines in 2005 due to the number of arrests he made on his beat in Mansfield, still needs round-the-clock care at home, where he is continuing his recovery from injuries sustained in the incident last November.

Last month, Mitchel Graham, aged 26, the driver of the car involved, pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to dangerous driving, failing to stop after the incident, and failing to report it. As well as receiving a 15-month prrison sentence, he was also banned from driving for 6 years.

The incident in Blidworth Lane, Mansfield, left PC Coetzee, originally from South Africa, with severe head injuries and sparked a major investigation from Nottinghamshire Police as they attempted to track down the culprit.

 

21 user comments

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While I applaud the jail term it would be nice to see this kind of justice applied equally. Drivers have killed cyclists and escaped heavy sentences, if the injured rider had been a civilian would we have seen such a determined effort by the Police to find the person responsible? Would we have seen a jail term handed down? Past events suggest no.

posted by Velo_Alex [66 posts]
28th September 2012 - 10:45

2 Likes

I wouldn't call 15 months a heavy sentence. Admittedly higher than if the injured party was a mere mortal, but still nowhere near severe enough.

posted by Actium [42 posts]
28th September 2012 - 10:50

1 Like

Velo_Alex wrote:
While I applaud ...

What he said.

djcritchley's picture

posted by djcritchley [153 posts]
28th September 2012 - 10:50

1 Like

Velo_Alex wrote:
While I applaud the jail term it would be nice to see this kind of justice applied equally. Drivers have killed cyclists and escaped heavy sentences, if the injured rider had been a civilian would we have seen such a determined effort by the Police to find the person responsible? Would we have seen a jail term handed down? Past events suggest no.

Yes indeed, your general run of the mill member of the public doesn't get such attention when injured in an accident.

I hope the injured cop recovers.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
28th September 2012 - 11:12

2 Likes

Agree with all comments above! Plus, I had never heard of a 6 year ban before! Most drivers are banned for two years!

It's quite worrying that sentences handed out take into consideration who the victim is (VIP victims), than the crime itself.

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
28th September 2012 - 11:23

1 Like

We're getting there - now this sentence becomes a precedent for other similar cases. Something to build on.

AndrewRH's picture

posted by AndrewRH [50 posts]
28th September 2012 - 11:24

1 Like

AndrewRH wrote:
We're getting there - now this sentence becomes a precedent for other similar cases. Something to build on.

slowly, maybe .....

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
28th September 2012 - 11:26

2 Likes

A 15 month sentence will (if I understand it correctly) result in 7.5 months assuming he behaves himself inside.

Hmmm. Which would you rather have? 7.5 months prison or 10 months (and counting) round the clock care?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3471 posts]
28th September 2012 - 11:33

1 Like

I think we need lifetime driving bans for people like this.

If someone had a gun licence and recklessly discharged it, injuring someone, they would never get one again.

posted by benb [57 posts]
28th September 2012 - 12:33

1 Like

Agree with the other comments....would appear they treat things more seriously according to who is injured...look after your own and all that!!! Glad they got him and hope the cyclist recovers but lets see some consistency is sentencing and all incidents like these being taken seriously.

I was knocked off a few years back and whilst the driver stopped and details were taken, when i wrote to his insurance company they informed me he had started his policy the day AFTER hitting me and knocking me flying across the road after pulling out of a junction and hitting me from behind! The Police were informed and went round to see him only to be told 'he comes and goes and dont really live here anymore'. Case closed as far as Police were concerned, could not be bothered to waste resources on it.

They could have had an easy nick for no insurance, driving without due care etc but just not interested. Surely as they had his personal details they could have traced his work address and shown up there?!?! Maybe i am naive but bet they would have followed it up if it was 'one of their own'!!!!

posted by Hopalongsteve [70 posts]
28th September 2012 - 12:36

1 Like

How can this guy be allowed on the roads again? If he kills or maims again then the home secretary is going to have a difficult discussion with the victim's family.

posted by SpamSpamSpam [20 posts]
28th September 2012 - 13:08

1 Like

In this crazy judicial world of ours I would rather have seen 6 years gaol and fifteen months driving ban, obviously he wouldn't be able to drive while in gaol, just making a point about the daft system of sentencing.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1016 posts]
28th September 2012 - 13:23

2 Likes

Unfortunately it costs more to jail them then ban them. Happy to see 6 years. It would be great as a minimum for causing serious harm after proven bad driving - perhaps with another 3 years for leaving the scene and another 3 years for having no insurance?

If you lose you job with your licence - tough. As an employer I wouldn't want to employ anyone responsible for hit and run anyway. With no licence you can then get the bus - or even use a bike instead.

All makes sense to me!

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
28th September 2012 - 14:35

2 Likes

Velo_Alex wrote:
While I applaud the jail term it would be nice to see this kind of justice applied equally. Drivers have killed cyclists and escaped heavy sentences, if the injured rider had been a civilian would we have seen such a determined effort by the Police to find the person responsible? Would we have seen a jail term handed down? Past events suggest no.

Agreed. The evidence speaks for itself. Most injured civvies would be lucky if the perp was ever caught let alone charged and sentenced. Angry Don't know the details but most of these cases result in a charge of 'careless not 'dangerous' driving, which often attracts a heavier sentence. Thinking

Most cyclists would probably agree that more of these cases should be charged with the latter offence but the CPS argue there is often too little evidence to support the successful prosecution of the more serious offence. At least the tosser Loser was sent down Applause . Should have been banned for life, though. Devil

posted by BigBear63 [72 posts]
28th September 2012 - 15:05

1 Like

LondonCalling wrote:
It's quite worrying that sentences handed out take into consideration who the victim is (VIP victims), than the crime itself.

Some cyclists are more equal than others.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [603 posts]
28th September 2012 - 16:23

3 Likes

Where does it say that he got more of a sentence because the victim was a cop? The judiciary in my experience are terrified of appeals - it harms their career if they get something wrong. Sentencing being biaised because of the victims job would be clear grounds for an appeal.
I can't in all honesty say that the police wouldn't make an extra effort because he's one of their own, but claims that most civillians would not have the offender found, clearly fail to take note of the news reports of all those who do get found and prosecuted, even if it is with lesser offences on CPS advice.

Some people are like slinkies, not much use for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs

posted by KNOWNOTHINGBOZO [14 posts]
29th September 2012 - 5:52

2 Likes

It surely is ridiculous that a person who admits dangerous driving and failing to stop gets only 15 months inside but it seems the judge had more to say about the sentence than originally reported.

He told Graham that it was the maximum he could pass and added that it may seem, "ridiculously short for such a grave crime but it is all that I can give with the restrictions placed upon me".

If judges are beginning to comment on sentencing guidelines maybe there is still some hope of them being properly reviewed and updated.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [628 posts]
29th September 2012 - 10:34

3 Likes

The more of these incidents we report the more I wonder why there is a separate class of motoring offences for incidents involving drivers killing or injuring other road users through dangerous or careless driving. Wouldn't it be more just and appropriate simply to charge them with manslaughter, criminal manslaughter or assault and or one of the other offences against the person or even to create a new one if necessary.

Dangerous driving is a criminal offence - so if someone kills whild doing it it would surely make more sense to charge them with Dangerous driving and criminal manslaughter.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
29th September 2012 - 13:04

2 Likes

At times people on here amaze me with their complete lack of knowledge. Confused

Also its quite sad if you think because the IP was a cop the offender got a greater sentence.

I could give a multitude of experiences and accounts where this can be disproved.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
29th September 2012 - 17:56

1 Like

tony_farrelly wrote:
The more of these incidents we report the more I wonder why there is a separate class of motoring offences for incidents involving drivers killing or injuring other road users through dangerous or careless driving. Wouldn't it be more just and appropriate simply to charge them with manslaughter, criminal manslaughter or assault and or one of the other offences against the person or even to create a new one if necessary.

Dangerous driving is a criminal offence - so if someone kills whild doing it it would surely make more sense to charge them with Dangerous driving and criminal manslaughter.


I couldn't agree more. In France if you kill someone with a car the charge is manslaughter, over here it's regarded as a motoring offence.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
29th September 2012 - 21:29

1 Like

People have been fighting to get the law changed for years now yet no Govt has the balls to do it.

A private members bill is probably the only way to get it through but then it will be classed as political suicide by any MP who tries to push it through.

Its like the gun lobby in USA the car / motor vehicle lobby over here have a lot of clout.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2847 posts]
29th September 2012 - 23:01

4 Likes