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Driver appeals against Northfleet teen death sentence

PUBLISHED: 12:39 20 October 2010

Josh Callaghan

Josh Callaghan

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The father of a 16-year-old boy killed when he was hit by a car says he is “disgusted” to learn the driver has appealed against a three-and-a-half year jail sentence.

Koaldeap Singh Lit, 35, of Cliffe Road, Strood, was jailed in July after a jury found him guilty of causing death by dangerous driving when his car hit Josh Callaghan in London Road, Northfleet, in January 2009.

Josh, of Canon Road, Bromley, was walking along the pavement with his father Tim when Lit, who had fallen asleep at the wheel, mounted the kerb and collided with the youngster.

At the Criminal Appeal Court on Thursday, Lit’s legal team argued that his conviction should be overturned and that his sentence was excessive, but top judges dismissed the appeal, saying the sentence was justified.

Josh’s father Tim, 46, a self-employed electrician, said he had not been told of Lit’s appeal. He described it as “unbelievable” that Lit had already decided to argue for a cut in his sentence.

“He thinks his sentence is too tough? Three-and-a-half years for killing a 16-year-old boy is nothing,” he said. “It is a complete insult to me and my family that he thought he could get the sentence reduced. I am disgusted. It is no one else’s fault.

“He has never said sorry to me or any of my family for what he did. I can’t believe I have not been told that he was thinking of doing this.”

Mr Callaghan was walking with his son along London Road, on the way to the Leather Bottle pub. As they walked past the metal railings of Rosherville CE Primary School, the car Mr Lit was driving mounted the pavement and hit Josh.

At the court case in July, Lit said he had been driving home from work in Bath and had swerved to avoid a dog. He denied he had fallen asleep at the wheel, but the jury convicted him of death by dangerous driving.

Mr Callaghan said Lit’s sentence was an “insult”. He added: “The laws need to be looked at again. I watched my son die. What part of falling asleep, mounting the pavement and killing a kid is not serious?

“We think about Josh every day. It messes up your lives, your family. People don’t realise what you go through, having to tell his 13-year-old sister her brother isn’t coming back.”

Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said that, although the sentence was “at the top end of the range”, it was justified given the devastating consequences of Lit’s dangerous driving.

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