Teen drug driver spared jail despite trail of chaos
Mum whose son was nearly crushed hits out at ‘leniency’
A drug driver from Kennington has been spared jail after leading police on a chase through residential roads before finally ploughing into an oncoming car.
Ji Lawrence, 18, of Dudley Road, left a trail of chaos in the nightmare crash in Faversham Road in August last year.
The then-17-year-old drove his silver MG ZR through Kennington, despite having cannabis in his system and not having passed his driving test.
He was followed by police but failed to stop at a junction and smashed into an oncoming BMW.
Appearing at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on January 11, Lawrence pleaded guilty to driving with no insurance, without a valid licence, failing to stop for police, driving with cannabis in his system and dangerous driving.
He was sentenced last Thursday to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 24 months,.
Magistrates also banned him from driving for 12 months, ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months and to pay a total of £265.
But one mother says the sentence is too lenient.
Maria Aitken, whose sevenyear-old-son Dylan was nearly crushed against a tree in the incident, has criticised the outcome.
She said: “Twenty-six weeks is ridiculous. I really don’t think that’s enough.
“I’m quite surprised with the result, particularly because of the fact that he admitted all the charges and he still has only been given a suspended sentence.”
Miss Aitken described the moment when she could only look on in terror as she watched Lawrence’s out-of-control car smash into a tree where her son had been standing.
She said: “I just kept thinking ‘oh my God, he was hit and squashed against that tree’.
“It was beyond awful. I went into a panic and just kept saying ‘oh my God’.
“The lasting damage to the victims clearly has not been taken into consideration at all.
“I have no idea what the other family think but I’m sure they would feel the same.
“My son still won’t talk about it. He’s still obviously very affected.
“I appreciate that our prisons are full to the brim and judges will only sentence somebody to prison if they really have to, but I do not think his sentence is enough.
“It just seems a bit too lenient, but I would say that because I’m the mother of a child he nearly crushed and my view would be any sentence is too lenient.
“I guess he is just going to go off and do his own thing now.”
Maria Aitken with her daughter Sienna, five, and son Dylan, seven
Ji Lawrence whose silver MG crashed in Faversham Road, Ashford, as he attempted to get away from police