John Leech MP (pictured with Nick Clegg)

John Leech MP (pictured with Nick Clegg)

A former MP of the Year for Road Safety has called on the Ministry of Justice to review the sentence given to a speeding driver who killed an Orthodox man on his way to synagogue.

John Leech MP (pictured above with Nick Clegg) has challenged the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP to review the case of Simon Martins, who was given an eight-month suspended sentence for causing death by dangerous driving. The case was heard at Manchester Crown Court this week.

Martins of Fairhaven Avenue, Whitefield, was charged with death by dangerous driving after knocking down Hyman Steinberg as he walked to Ohel Torah synagogue in December 2012. John Leech outlined his concerns in a letter to Grayling, calling on him to review the case. He said: “I feel the sentence given to Mr Martins is too lenient, sets a dangerous precedent and needs to be reviewed.”

Lawyer Nick Freeman, representing Martins, said Mr Steinberg, who was wearing the “traditional dress of many Orthodox Jewish men, namely black hat, black suit and overcoat”, could have been saved by a reflective “vest, armbands or belt”. The outspoken lawyer has called on the government to introduce new legislation to “require” pedestrians to “light up” at night.

Leech added: “The driver was clearly at fault going 42mph in a 30mph zone as well as sending a text behind the wheel. I’m appalled by the comments from Nick Freeman. As well as being culturally insensitive, the incident was clearly the fault of the speeding driver.”