By Carlena Knight
It was a grim day for the family of Kiyodie Osborne after 22-year-old Annik Lawrence was sentenced to nine months behind bars for the role she played in his death.
The mother of the deceased could be seen crying after court as she was consoled by other family members who attended the proceedings yesterday at the High Court.
Lawrence, from Gray’s Farm, was found guilty for Osborne’s death, by dangerous driving, as it was revealed that she caused the early morning smash-up on Sir Sydney Walling Highway in July 2019, which claimed the life of the 21-year-old youth and left several other people injured, including a couple and their child.
Police said Osborne, of Roman Hill, died on the spot after he was thrown from the car on impact.
He was travelling in a Honda Fit driven by Lawrence which crashed shortly after turning from Lightfoot main road onto the highway.
The Honda Fit ran into two other vehicles – a bus, and a car carrying the couple and their child – before crashing into the concrete boundary of a nearby property.
Lawrence, the deceased and three other persons were said to have been leaving from ‘Jam Corner’ and heading to ‘Triple Thursdays’ at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
Lawrence pleaded guilty on June 15th of this year and just two weeks ago one of her lawyers, Peter-Semaj McKnight, begged the court for leniency as he indicated that his client “not only endured emotional pain, but also physical pain” because she, too, was injured and had to be hospitalised for two weeks.
In addition to that, she also lost a friend and is “haunted and daunted by the incident”, the court heard.
He said that the woman is a young single mother of a five-year old son and two-year-old daughter and therefore “understands the importance of family and the significance of loss”.
“If she is placed in custody, it will erode that seminal role she plays thus far,” the lawyer said.
Furthermore, McKnight disclosed that his client is facing civil action because of this incident where compensation is being sought for the death of the victim.
He also revealed that Lawrence has no prior convictions, spent three days in custody at the St John’s Police Station and then a further 10 days or so on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).
The attorney also reminded the court that there was no evidence of evidence of drinking, racing or use of a cellphone while driving.
“It was just an inexperienced person behind a machine,” he claimed.
The lawyer thought that probation would be an appropriate penalty.
A sister of the deceased took the stand and attempted to tell the court how the incident has affected her family but she could not contain her emotions.
“It truly broke our family,” she muttered.
Afterwards, the prosecution told the court that the defendant was in fact driving at a fast rate of speed and was in the wrong lane.
Lawrence was then given an opportunity to speak.
“I’m apologising to the court for the wrongs I have caused and I am asking for forgiveness from the family for the pain I have caused them,” she said.
Justice Colin Williams adjourned the matter until August 6 so that he could review the precedents but in sentencing the mother of two, yesterday, the judge noted that the defendant was driving without a licence after asking a friend to obtain a rental car on her behalf.
She was also said to be speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road at the time.
The judge began with a possible sentence of two years and four months but reduced it by 17 months since the young woman had no prior convictions, had pleaded guilty, was on remand for about two weeks, was remorseful, is a mother of two and is also the subject of a civil suit due to this very accident.
Despite those mitigating factors, the judge declared that probation is not appropriate in this case.
He concluded that nine months was the most appropriate sentence and ordered that her licence be disqualified for two years after her release.
She must also receive counselling in prison and be given ample opportunity to communicate with her two young children.
She was represented by lawyers Peter-Semaj McKnight and Lawrence Daniels.