5yrs for mom in driving death

| 24/04/2014

(CNS): A visiting judge handed down a severe sentence in a death by dangerous driving case Thursday. Dorlisa Piercy, who is currently breast feeding her young baby, was given a five year jail term following her conviction for causing the death of Karen Edwards in an East End road smash in August 2011. Edwards, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, was seven months pregnant when she was thrown from the car and killed in the high speed crash in which Piercy and the front passenger also received severe injuries. Piercy claimed she wasn't the driver and had denied the charges but she was found guilty by Justice Carol Beswick during a trial earlier this year. Despite Piercy's circumstances, the judge handed down the long prison term and a driving disqualification.

The 26-year-old mom will now be separated from her baby, and Justice Beswick acknowledged the suffering of the baby, who will be separated from its mother, but she said it was as a result of Piercy’s choices.

Piercy had persistently denied being the driver, stating that the owner of the car, Priscilla Smith, had been at the wheel when the accident happened. However, during the trial the court heard that Smith was cut out of the car at the scene from the front passenger side. The judge found that Piercy was the driver and found her guilty of causing death by dangerous driving

As a result Piercy was not given any credit on the five year sentence. A social enquiry report  revealed that since giving birth, Piercy had turned her life around and become a dedicated mother who is in a relationship with the baby's father. However, despite this and several good character witnesses, as well as a number of other mitigating factors, the judge did not go easyon the new mom.

Justice Beswick said that after balancing the mitigating factors, which included a short period of bad driving, the fact that she was young at the time and that she too was badly injured, against the aggravating factors, including the speed, the vulnerability of Karen Edwards as an expectant mother and that Piercy had previous speeding violations, she felt the sentence was appropriate. The judge pointed to what she said was a lack of remorse, as to this day Piercy continues to deny being at the wheel and causing the death of her friend.

In addition to the five year jail term, the judge also imposed a five year driving ban on Piercy to begin when she is eventually released from custody.

Compared to a number of recent similar death by dangerous driving cases, the sentence is one of the longest to be handed down. With no discount as a result of the trial, the judge also found that the circumstances of the case placed it in a higher category, with a recommended starting point of five years.

Piercy was taken into custody for the first time following her long bail since the crash almost three years ago, in which she too was critically injured and only just survived. Following the judge’s decision, it was an emotional goodbye for Piercy and her family.

Defence attorney Lucy Organ from Samson McGrath declined to confirm if she would be appealing the sentence.

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Category: Crime

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow she took that girls life and her unborn child's life now she has to leave her newborn to serve time in jail and is also taken away from her baby jus like she took Karen away from her children. But still lucky bcuz she still has life but only time will tell what her fate will be especially denying the fact that she was the driver and only thinkin of herself. Crosses na leave her side. She need to give her life to the Lord. God bless her soul. Sad situation that no one would want to be in. If she was such a friend she would not deny she was driving being selfish and she would not have been speeding and drinkin with a pregnant girl in the back seat. Hard tobelieve it was only alcohol that was consumed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sad and tragic. My heart goes out to Karen's family and my heart also goes out to Dorlisa's family because this has also impacted their lives negatively. I am not comparing their impact to the impact of Karen's family, I am just saying this tragic occurrence has had a negative impact on both families. I wasn't there that day so I can't say with absolute certainty what occurred but I would say that the evidence seems to strongly suggest that Dorlisa is not being truthful about not being the driver which does indicate that she has not yet accepted responsiblity of killing her friend and her unborn child. Dorlisa, my advice to you is free yourself and give yourself some peace. Admit what you have done. You will suffer for the rest of your life knowing that you unintentionally killed your friend but the truth is that you did, so don't try to cover it up by not only claiming that you were not driving but you are also trying to blame someone else who was also supposed to be your friend. Integrity is something learned and practiced. You come from a respectable family who has a lot of integrity, do the right thing and just admit what you did. You were probably feeling desperate to avoid a jail sentence and perhaps thought somehow creating some doubt as to your accountability could achieve that but you are just making it worse by not accepting what you did. Karen's motherhas lost her child, unborn grandchild, your mother could visit you in the hospital after the accident and can now visit you in jail, Karen's mother will never have that opportunity. I pray for both families, that they can somehow heal from this tragedy.

  3. Seriously! says:

    Some of you speak as if you were in the car that day, or you are a witness to the accident!!!

    As a HUMAN BEING, I feel so much sorrow for Karen and her family or very sadden for Dorlisa and hers, all the best.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Apolozie letter after almost three years.yes karen mother was giveapolozie letter after piercy was found guilty yesterday.if i was karen mother i would give it back to her that was a insult because they appeal went in right away dont worry god is god she might get more time when they appeal thats just what she needs she needs five more on to that five she get

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is very sad for all involved; for the family of the decesaed their loss will never go away, for the young lady who received the sentence she will never be able to forget the incident  or simply put it behind her.  I am sure that daily she is reminded of the events of her actions and that due to them her friend lost  not only her life but her unborn child as well.  We need to have a bit more compassion she was (is) young and very often young people make bad decisions that have very tragic results case in point.  Just imagine how she must have felt when she became a mother knowing that her friend did not have the opportunity to hold her baby due to her actions which could have all be avoided.  Can those of us who are without sympathy imagine how she must feel having to be away from her child who she is still breast feeding.  She will be away from her child for five years her first child know for a fact that she will never experience some of the greatest joys of motherhood as the first five years of any child's life are the most formative.  It is quite possible more punishment that any term of incarceration can afford.  To those of us who are so quick to say that she should have been given 20 years a very wise judge in November 1984 said to a man who had killed his famous son upon not passing a custodial sentence I pharaphase "what you have done and have to live with every day is far greater than any prison that I could send you to". I am sure that the five years that this young woman was sentenced to is much less and easier that the prison (herself) what she must live with and in for the rest of her life.  To all the families affected by this tragedy I pray that God will continue to bring you comfort each day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let every drunken, wild life, young person be responsible for their actions.

  6. Westbayer72 says:

    Only 5 years? Are you kidding me? Someone in posession of a firearm automaticaly gets 7 years, but if you kill someone you only get 5 years. Wow! What a great message this sends to our young people. Some justice.

  7. Kadafe says:

    This was a terrible tragedy. I find the sentence rather lenient  I think she should have been given at least another 2 years for the lying. You caused the death of someone you know and you don't care enough to even take responsibility for your actions? Shameful!

    • Anonymous says:

      In an accident sometimes especially when it is a bad one like this one, you loose memory. If these girls especially had been drinking this could easily happen. Dorlisa perhaps is a victim of not remembering.I would have thought that she or her Lawyer would have said that. Then she could have told the Judge that if she was driving she had no memory of it. I choose to think that in her mind she cant remember whether or not that she was driving.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I do hope she will not be eligible for early release until she admit she did it.  The people who gave good character evidence should be ashamed of themselves.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I quite agree that to talk about "Caymanian entitlement" is an absolute nonsense.As an expatriate resident here for over 40 years I have seen many accidents and other crimes committed by "foreigners". The subject here is the crime and the consequences and race has nothing to do with it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I find it seriously disturbing that you are given an automatic prison sentence simply for possession of a gun, yet you can take a life, such as by speeding, drunk driving etc. and get what I consider a slap on the wrist.  This is a case of manslaughter plain and simple…and such cases should have a minimum of 20 yrs PERIOD.  This law needs to be changed NOW.  5 years is an insult and added heartbreak for families who have lost a loved one through someone else's bad choices or bad habits. No excuses. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree absolutely. And not just any gun. An air rifle would get you in jail under mandatory sentencing.

       

      Human life is cheap in these islands. You would do more time in jail for killing a turtle without a permit.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't. One is 'stupidly accidental' and one is premeditated. Its like the difference between manslaughter and premeditted murder. – But, yeah, no excuses.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just one of them made bad choices, they all fell into that category. Don't just blame one, blame them all.  Our young people are not living usefull lives, they are cycling down the wrong road and dangerous pathways.  They need to turn their lives around and face the world.  

      Life is what you make it.  Stop making excuses for stupid mistakes.  Look in the mirror and see who is looking at you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Justice was severe she show no remorse about what she done and keep denying she was the driver of the car the day of the accident putting plame on priscilla smith when people from east end bar see when they left she was driving. member god not sleeping he sees and knows we can hid from people but we cant hid from him the only thing am sorry for is the poor baby girl you deserve more time you should had tell the truth from the  first time and them it woulding ben so bad on you lying dont pay truth shall set you free

  12. Unison says:

    Funny … some damming comments. I read someone say that she should get 20 years for what she did. I am not condoning what this lady did, but I think we should be careful how we judge someone (and know nothing about them). A crime is committed by a human reaction; sometimes when the circumstances in a person's life are extremely difficult for that person to cope. Everyone has a limit XXXX  Can anyone say they have mastered themselves to the degree where they can say they have never reacted to any single thing?  Jesus showed the true nature of those who are so quick to condemn others: 

    Religions leaders brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. And when they hadset her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”  But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He didn't hear them.

    So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.

    After some time, Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?”

    She said, “No one, Lord.”

    And then with a look of love, the Master said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” ~ Taken from John 8.

    • Anonymous says:

      *YAWN*

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a Christian too but your post has nothing to do with this article which is about justice being served on someone who by their own dangerous driving took not one life, but two as the lady was pregnant. It has nothing to do with whether you personally have forgiven the person.   

      • Unison says:

        You are absolutely right- has nothing to do with dangerous driving. Rather, my post has to do with people who are so quick to condemn others and not look at their own faults.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are venial sins ie. forgivable sins and mortal sins ie. unforgivable sins. Lies, etc. fall under venial sins, and murder, rape, divorce, etc. fall under mortal sins. Whilst he who is without sin should cast the first stone, who is to say those who brought the woman forward to be stoned were completely faithful to their partners? 

      Dorlisa's actions ended the lives of a mother and her unborn child. I believe if she were the one killed, she would want the driver to serve as strong a sentence as is possible. 

      • Anonymous says:

        In my humble opinion Dorlisa should have gotten house arrest so that she could be with her young baby. The first years of ones life is the most important. Alot of these kids are growing up under the care of all sort of people. Looks like its going to be a job and another work permit for one more person.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think the gist of this argument is that no-one can ever complain to the police or give evidence for the prosecution unless they are without sin.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Lord dont expect us to be ignorant and go speeding, driving carelessly and killing off people. Otherwise he would have included that in his commandments.

      Do you really watch these charriots flying and speeding by recklessly, on our roads. Especially these SUVs and pick up trucks. Sometimes i wonder if their brain is in their foot bottom.

       Or they suffer from  a mental disorder. I think its past time the license department include a mental test before issuing a drivers license. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. I am sure that she is suffering as much as anyone else. Why throw stones at her when it could have been the other way around. This younger generation needs to be more responsible and stay home with their children. One thing for sure Dorlisa's family surely set a good example for her. But even the Royal familys has wrongs. Regardless of how many years she get it cannot bring back life and she did not wilfully did it. I am sorry for both partys and their familys. There dosent seem to be much christianity around anymore when you read these posts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Which is more important self responsibility, or Christianity?  Stop carousing and living on the wild side, and lead lives that will lift family and friends and make better communities.  Too many children having children, which is the cause of all of our social woes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stoning sounds great.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You do the crime you do the time, bottom line!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I find it appaling that others have committed the same offense have received lesser sentences. I agree with the sentence and agree that it's necessary, but I don't agree that others should have gotten less. There has been cases where others have served no time at all, and some have served a year or as little as 6 months. Craziness. Hopefully that craziness will stop. Death by dangerous driving is Death..by dangerous driing.

    • Anonymous says:

      In this case 2 lives were taken. That might explain the sentence disparity. Either way 5 years is not enough even for one life to be honest.

  15. Anonymous says:

     I hope that people (especially the younger ones) will hear and see this message loud and clear!! You can't go around and behave out of control, cause death of two people and then think just because you suddenly decide to turn your life around you should get off easy. It doesn't work like that!

    Just remember – there is always a consequence to your action. Sometimes you may not feel the consequence immediately but there will be one and it often catches up at the most inconvenient time!

  16. Peter says:

    20 years should have been the term. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    Severe sentence??? I would say it's appropriate – and only just. She hasn't shown any remorse, if she had admitted it then maybe it could be deemed severe . The way this report is written suggests I (as the reader) should feel sympathy for the offender. I don't. She is in this position due to her own recklessness and subsequent lack of remorse. Many may think this is severe – but why did she allow herself to become pregnant when she must have known she was likely to end up in jail? I feel desperately sorry for her child, but not an ounce of sorrow for the child's mother. She is so very clearly guilty of causing the death of one friend but then commits another reprehensible act by trying to blame another friend – despite the physical impossibilty of this defence. At least she'll have five years in which to grow a backbone and learn about morality and decency. Or not, as the case may be.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Whatever happened she did not willfully kill her friend. Just friends out partying. However she is Caymanian and the end result would be the worst. No one can deny that she comes from a family of high character, but accidents do happen to the best. The worlds most loved woman lost her life in an accident. ( Lady Diana).

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop speeding drive with care!

    • Anonymous says:

      If had been wilful it would have been murder and the sentence would have been much higher. It was not just an accident, the collision occurred because of her dangerous driving. She is culpable. To make matters worse she has shown no remorse but continued to deny that she was driving in an effort to escape accountability. Stop trying to minimise and excuse. Her family's high character is irrelevant.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Glad to see this sentence handed down for this lying woman.  No remorse and denying all the way is sad.  This has disrupted the lives of many families.  

    We need to keep this judge around for a few more convictions. Wish she was sentencing Joey!! 

  20. edwardsfamily says:

    Sometimes in life we do have to suffer the consequence, no matter what the situation….I am sorry to hear that she will not be around her baby fir five yrs I know that will be very difficult to endure as I, myself being a new mother can't imagine not seeing my 2mnth old for five yrs but this must be a lesson to all involved. This should also be some kind of lesson to the caymanian government. SEATBELTS ARE TO BE WORN AT ALL TIMES BO MATTER WHAT, JUST LIKE DRIVING AND TEXTING ARE FORBIDDEN…IT SHOULD BE FORBIDDEN TO RIDE IN , OR DRIVE A VEHICLE WITHOUT. A BELT THAT IS WHY THEY WERE MADE!!! TO BE USED!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:



      Seat belts in some instances save lives and in other can kill. I was not wearing a seat belt because of an injured shoulder when someone turned me over and the Cops who attended the accident told me that if I had been wearing a seat belt I would have strangled to my death with the position that I was in. Remember the Immigration Officer on the Propect Road who succomed to his death by wearing a seat belt? So sad but sometimes it dosent work. I am a true believer of destiny.

      • Anonymous says:

        Seatbelts save vastly more lives than they take – that's why so many countries have made them compulsory

  21. Anonymous says:

    Since is when is 5 years a harsh sentence for a double homiside?  She should get life for not admitting she was at fault.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      This is an homicide?. Homicide is the willful killing by one individual of another individual. This was reckless negligence careless, but certainly wasn't a willful intent to kill. Dolisa  did not intend to kill somebody else.

      • Anonymous says:

        You seem to have mixed up "murder" with "homicide". It was homicide, it was not murder.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I was hoping for her to ROT in Fairbanks! Breastfeeding?! Karen never got the chance to breastfeed her child! What makes me so upset about this all is that she is denying the fact that she was the driver! had she just admitted being the driver all of this wouldn’t have escalated! She’s a wicked woman and her family and people who claim she turn her life amount is just as bad. Turn life around my @$$! Trying make ppl have pitty on her ya see. Ha. I wish she got life and then her child would feel how it feels to be WITHOUT A MOTHER just like Karen’s!

  23. Anonymous says:

    What I don't understand is why certain people gets lesser sentences then others, example an indiviudal causedthe death of a young woman in a vehicle due to her drinking and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, i think all she got was 15 months, why is this woman who i don't think was drinking get 5 years?

    • Anonymous says:

      Without the specifics of the case no one ccan really say, except that each case is probably subtly different. However, go to the courthouse and ask to see the court reports. The judgements are public information o you can see for yourself what the different judges took in to account in arriving at their sentences. Or you may even be able to find out on-line, judicial.ky/judgements. 

  24. Whodatis says:

    Although it is clear that many young people seek thrills by way of speeding, I have to support the judge's ruling in this case.

    Many (young) people fail to appreciate that surviving a quick blast along the road can be a matter of mere luck or the slightest miscalculation. (I am speaking from experience here.)

    However, to commit such an act with a carload of passengers, one being heavily pregnant at the time, is unconscionable. The fact that Piercy now has a child is irrelevant to the incident.

    I wish the best for everyone affected by this tragic accident.

    *To the previous poster that clearly used this unfortunate story to make a biased jab toward Caymanians … you are truly pathetic. I trust you no longer reside in the country nor have added to our population by way of reproduction.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to agree with Whodatis.

      Stop speeding and drive with more care and caution. Keep this in mind at all time, that vehicle you are driving is also a lethal weapon.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Of course you cannot show remorse if you claim you were not responsible. The judge was absolutely right to hand down a sentence that reflects the facts of this case. Piercy should consider herself lucky that she has had her freedom for almost 3 years since committing this horrendous act.

  26. Anonymous says:

    It is re-assuring to see the presiding judge give the approriate sentence, for the death of the young victim & her unborn child , despite what is obviously ( in this case, not all) a Caymanians 'entitlement ' to dangerous driving, attempt at deciept & lies.   

    • Anonymous says:

      So sick that you have to bring the cheap reverse-psychology of ‘Caymanian entitlement” here.. To dangerous driving?? Please!
      Anyone who deserves to be punished should – not that it will solve both families’ years of suffering.

    • Anonymous says:

      How did "Caymanians' entitlement" get into this? Are the only dangerous, reckless or drunk drivers Caymanians?

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanians certainly have not exercised any political will to stop the problem.

  27. Anonymous says:

    At last!  A sentence that is not an insult.  Should be doubled again for her trying to lie and say she was not driving.  Not really consistent with the "good character" evidence was it?