A JUDGE has been slammed for not sending a serial drink driver to prison because she was a woman.
Judge Sarah Buckingham told Victoria Parry, who had two previous convictions for drink-driving, that if she were a man, ‘it would have been straight down the stairs’ to prison.
Instead the judge at Warwick Crown Court gave 30-year-old Parry, from Bearley, a chance to escape being jailed after she had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.
But Observer readers commenting on our Facebook page were unimpressed with the judge’s remarks.
Former Stratford mayor Victoria Alcock said: “Why does her being a female make a difference on sentencing? She could have killed someone, she should have been jailed.”
Beverley Carey commented: “Any feminist would be ashamed of that response. Equality is equality, frankly I don’t see any consequences here, after numerous repetitions of drunk driving.”
Warwickshire county councillor Dominic Skinner said: “Very concerning and if I were the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) I would be asking for the sentencing to be reviewed.”
The court heard Parry was drunk last May when she hit three vehicles on the A46 Stratford by-pass before crashing down an embankment into woodland where her Fiat Stilo caught fire. A passing off-duty police inspector rushed to her rescue and pulled her out of the burning car.
But Parry should not even have been behind the wheel having been banned for three years in July 2015 for a second drink driving offence.
And when she took a breath test at the police station almost two hours after being rescued the reading was only just under three times the legal limit.
Lucy Tapper, defending, explained Parry had been in an abusive relationship for 15 years, and for the last five years had found herself with a considerable drink problem, and had been downing two bottles of wine a day.
Miss Tapper added Parry had got her drinking under control and was out of the relationship and in work.
Judge Buckingham said: “If Miss Parry was a man, there is no question it would have been straight down the stairs, because this is a shocking case of dangerous driving against a background of two previous convictions for excess alcohol.
But the judge said Parry, while an alcoholic, had not been in trouble since the offence.
Deferring sentence, Judge Buckingham told Parry: “You richly deserve an immediate custodial sentence of 18 months. I want to see whether you can really address the issues rather than paying lip service.”
She laid down Parry had to abstain from alcohol, attend meetings of a body such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and pay for private counselling.
And she added: “If you succeed, I will not make the custody immediate. If you don’t comply, I will conclude that you are not worthy of the chance.”
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office confirmed to the Observer it had received a complaint about the judge’s remarks.