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Motorist speeding at 80mph before he killed schoolboy cycling home jailed for five years

"You drove at 80mph — a speed which is breathtaking": Judge Lord Mulholland told Sami Ula Jabbar who was also disqualified from driving for 12 years...

A speeding driver who hit and killed a 16-year-old cycling home from school has today been jailed for five years and disqualified from driving for 12 years and six months.

Sami Ula Jabbar, who had a previous conviction for careless driving and was on bail at the time of the crash, heard his sentence at the High Court in Glasgow after admitting to causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard that the 29-year-old was driving his Mercedes at around 80mph before he hit Harley Smith as the teenager cycled home from school.

CCTV footage from the incident on the dark and foggy evening of 6 November 2020 showed the motorist speeding through residential streets in Laurieston, Falkirk, well in excess of the 30mph limit, while one witness reported telling her husband the driver was "going to kill someone" just moments before the fatal collision.

Smith, a pupil at St Mungo's High School, was struck on Polmont Road just before 9pm and died from a fatal head injury at the scene. Prosecuting, Alex Prentice QC reported a witness had seen "the car screeching to a halt. A person being propelled into the air to the height of what seemed like the top of the lamp post."

"You drove at 80mph — a speed which is breathtaking," Judge Lord Mulholland told him. "If you had driven at a safe speed this tragedy would not have happened. Harley Smith would be alive today realising his full potential. It is clear he was a fine young man loved by many."

Jabbar told police the cyclist was wearing dark clothing and had come "out of nowhere".

"I never seen him and then...boom. He came right on top of the windscreen," he continued.

As the driver was led from court, some family and friends of Smith reacted angrily to Jabbar. The Daily Record reports a shout of "I hope you rot. He was 16 years old. You stole him" was heard, while someone else shouted: "Look what you have done to us."

David Green, Scotland's Procurator Fiscal for homicide and major crime, concluded: "The reckless and dangerous driving of Sami Ula Jabbar has had the most devastating effect on many lives.

"It robbed young Harley Smith of his promising future and left his loving family bereft. The consequences of dangerous driving cannot be overstated, as this case demonstrates so tragically.

"Our Road Traffic Investigation Unit is committed to prosecuting these crimes at the highest level."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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18 comments

Avatar
Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
2 likes

First time I've heard of a killer motorist's punishment being worse than a killer cyclist's.

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Flintshire Boy | 1 year ago
2 likes

.

Not enough. By a long, long way.

.

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Yorkshie Whippet | 1 year ago
4 likes

I'm guessing according to Mr Chapps the driver wasn't displaying number plates, wasn't insured.......

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OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
15 likes

Should this person ever be allowed to drive again? He had committed previous offences. This one was horrible. I cannot imagine how the family of the lad feel.

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Rendel Harris replied to OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
11 likes

OldRidgeback wrote:

Should this person ever be allowed to drive again? He had committed previous offences. This one was horrible. I cannot imagine how the family of the lad feel.

Banned for fewer years than poor Harley had been on earth. An absolute disgrace.

Avatar
steaders1 | 1 year ago
16 likes

Simply not enough

When will the courts finally start passing sentences that really set an exapmle and are a proper deterrent?

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Karlt replied to steaders1 | 1 year ago
7 likes
steaders1 wrote:

Simply not enough

When will the courts finally start passing sentences that really set an exapmle and are a proper deterrent?

Sentences don't deter - that's been shown by a number of studies.

What deters is a high chance of being caught.

Motoring offences are particularly difficult to deter because the people committing them generally do not believe that any harm will result from their actions. They take risks they believe will pay off, because generally they do. They are therefore not deterred by thought of what would happen if they kill or injure someone because they just don't believe that will happen. There is too much dangerous driving around to believe it's all the work of psychopaths who don't care if someone dies. Rather it's the work of over confident over optimistic risk takers.

Your best bet is to police speeding, careless driving (cutting corners), drink/drug driving properly - get those drivers off the road on driving bans *before* their luck runs out. I'd go for automatic ban on 6 points, no "extreme hardship" exemption, compulsory extended retest for *all* drivers serving a ban when their ban comes to an end and mandatory prison sentences for driving while disqualified so that a broken driving ban has to be served where driving is impossible.

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Hirsute | 1 year ago
25 likes

"The court heard he has previous convictions, including for careless driving and had been freed under two bail orders from Falkirk Sheriff Court at the time of the crash."

We need a review of traffic laws and penalties before wasting resources on death by cyclists laws.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
6 likes

hirsute wrote:

"The court heard he has previous convictions, including for careless driving and had been freed under two bail orders from Falkirk Sheriff Court at the time of the crash." We need a review of traffic laws and penalties before wasting resources on death by cyclists laws.

so how on earth did he qualify for the lower end of the tariff?!  The third off means the original tariff was about 8 years, well below the maximum which this should have started at - the aggravating facts on the day plus the prior convictions and bail breaking. 

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
13 likes

Someone remind me: what's the maximum possible sentence for causing death by dangerous driving?  But we need a new law of Causing Death by Dangerous Cycling because all those cyclists get away with it.

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alchemilla replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
6 likes

14 yrs

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Awavey replied to alchemilla | 1 year ago
11 likes

its life imprisonment now, it was raised in April this year. But this case would still only qualify for 14 years because it happened nearly 2 years ago, and has taken this long to get to this point.

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chrisonabike replied to Awavey | 1 year ago
10 likes
Quote:

admitting to causing death by dangerous driving.

So actually 9 1/3 years because 1/3 discount for guilty plea. Plus he didn't kill the Queen and all her corgis so would never qualify for that maximum either.

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brooksby | 1 year ago
12 likes

And I bet if anyone had previously asked Mr Jabbar whether he thought he was a good and safe driver, he would have answered in the positive...

Terrible.

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Trikemanity replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
13 likes

I think it was MarkandCharlie on Twitter who said he gets more grief when he questions the standard of someone's driving than he does when he's arresting thieves and the like....

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jh2727 replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
12 likes

brooksby wrote:

And I bet if anyone had previously asked Mr Jabbar whether he thought he was a good and safe driver, he would have answered in the positive...

Terrible.

And I bet if anyone had previously asked asks Mr Jabbar whether he thought thinks he was is a good and safe driver, he would have will answered in the positive...

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Cycloid replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
5 likes

One survey found that 98% of drivers thought they were above average - but that was in the States

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Car Delenda Est replied to Cycloid | 1 year ago
1 like

British Drivers: "hold my phone"

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