A GRIEVING mum of a hit-and-run victim has called for a law change so that killers must hear their sentence delivered in court.
Mandy Vidal-Garner, whose daughter Anisha was killed in a road incident, is demanding those convicted listen to harrowing impact statements from loved ones.
Criminals aren’t legally obliged to be present in front of a judge to hear their sentence under current laws with Labour calling for change.
Mandy, 56, last night said: “Something has to change in the law system that makes it compulsory for the convicted to be present.”
A government source last night said Justice Secretary Dominic Raab was looking carefully into the law change.
Tragic student Anisha, 20, was crossing the road on a night out when she was hit by Quincy Anyiam’s speeding black Mercedes at 62mph in a 30mph zone in South London.
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He pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving but refused to appear at London’s Old Bailey for sentencing – meaning he was given seven years in jail without having to leave his cell and only writing a letter of regret.
Mandy, from Harlow in Essex, said: “When the man who killed our daughter failed to turn up to court twice, it was so demoralising.
“Myself and my daughter’s boyfriend Rory both hand impact statements to read, instead, on the second time he failed to show up, sentencing went ahead and I read the statement to an almost empty room.
“No explanation was given as to why he wasn’t there. It felt like justice was not being done.
“I felt like taking a loud hailer to outside the prison and reading it over the walls in the hope he’d hear what I’d have to say. I was that angry.
“For me, seeing him face his sentence and hear from me was the most important thing of the process
“I wanted him to know the devastation he has caused our family, the effect it’s had on Anisha’s young brothers and sisters, the fact her grandmother got very ill as a result of her death and that her granddad died of a stroke just a couple of weeks after.”
Speaking about the barrister’s son Anyiam, 27, she said: “But instead, he was sitting in his cell and the law at present says that is OK. That can’t be right. I don’t want the death penalty, I just want him to have to face up to what he did.”
Mandy described Kings College Philosophy and Spanish student Anisha as “the most amazing, caring and funny young woman”.
She told how she has resorted to sending her victim impact statement to both the prison Anyiam is in and to his lawyers in the hope he’ll read it.
She has also written to both the Attorney General Suella Braverman and to her local MP pleading for a law change.
It follows the recent case of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa whose evil killer Koci Selamaj refused to leave the cells to hear his sentence being handed down by the judge after the brutal attack in south-east London.
Shadow Justice Minister Ellie Reeves MP said: “Anisha’s family, like so many others, are being cruelly denied the chance to see justice done because cowardly offenders are allowed to hide in their cells, prolonging their grief.
“Labour will always put victims first – that’s why we will make offenders face justice so that these criminals can’t weasel out of hearing their sentences and be made accountable for their crimes.
“It’s time for Dominic Raab and this soft-on-crime Conservative Government to stop letting criminals off and letting victims down – change the law, now.”
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But a government source: “The Justice Secretary is looking at this very carefully.
“He has increased funding for victims by 85 percent and pushed forward the victims’ law because he believes victims should always be at the heart of the justice system. Victims funding is now triple its rate under Labour”.
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