Short-sighted motorist who mowed down pedestrian at crossing is handed community service

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Blackfriars Crown Court stock

A motorist has been handed 140 hours community service after he ploughed into a dog-walker using a pedestrian crossing.

Law student Mohammed Rashid, 23, who was so short-sighted he could only read a registration plate from seven feet away, was driving without his glasses when he hit Laurence Gunn as he was crossing the road in Hampstead, north London last year.

Rashid told police that despite his poor sight, he hadn't worn his glasses for over a year and didn't know where they were.

Witnesses said Mr Gunn, 32, was "hurled into the air" following the collision and landed on the other side of the road. Mr Gunn's friend witnessed the tragic event, as he was following just a few steps behind when the accident happened.

Judge Aiden Marron QC, said Rashid should have been more "prudent" with his glasses but hadn't actually broken the law by not wearing them.

He said: "Everyone involved in this case knows it is an unmitigating tragedy involving the death of a young man and the deep anguish suffered by his family.

"I'm afraid you were the cause of the death. You were driving at a reasonable speed and the evidence suggests there was nothing unusual on the road surface.

"I suggest we will never know why you did not see the victim. It would have been desirable and prudent to wear specs. But there is nothing unlawful about that."

Sentencing Rashid to 140 hours unpaid work, a driving disqualification for 12 months, eight points on his licence and ordering him to pay £500 prosecution costs, he added: "The only possible aggravating factor is the specs, and in evidence we heard they were not a legal requirement."

Mitigating, defence barrister Jacqueline Vallejo spoke of how the incident had affected the defendant, revealing he "wasn't the same man" following the accident.

She said: "Mr Rashid is not the same man as before, and for all intents and purposes he is a good lad."