THE Court of Appeal has adjourned sentencing a Skibbereen man who was four times over the limit, when he crashed his BMW into a roundabouut killing a woman and paralysing her friend, two-and-a-half years ago.
Sean Casey of Cooragannive, Skibbereen, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the dath of Megan Johnston (22) and causing serious bodily harm to Kate Petford (24) who was left paralysed following the crash at Skibbereen on April 8th 2013.
He was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to seven years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for 30 years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on February 17th 2014.
Casey successfully appealed his sentence in July with the Court of Appeal finding that his seven-year sentence was ‘out of line with other decided cases’.
He was due to be sentenced by the three-judge court sitting in Dublin on Monday last, but Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the court would give further time to considering the penalty it should impose on Casey, in light of a letter it had just recieved the morning of the court, from the parents of Ms Petford.
Counsel for the DPP, Lorcan Staines, said the court was aware that the parents of the late Ms Johnston had previously submitted an up-to-date victim impact report, and the parents of Ms Petford now wished to submit a letter also.
Mr Staines said the letter set out the changed circumstances for their daughter since sentencing.
He said Ms Petford had moved from residential care into her family home under the care of her parents with the help of the HSE, and there were significant difficulties for her at home.
On the DPP’s instructions, Mr Staines said the court should be aware of those changes.
The Court of Appeal adjourned sentencing until November 17th next.
In July, Mr Justice Sheehan said the sentencing judge ‘erred in holding that this was at the absolute apex’ of the dangerous driving scale.
Although ‘no two cases are the same’, the court considered eight dangerous driving cases which had reached an appeal court. In all but two of the eight cases, sentences of below five years were imposed.
Evidence was given at an earlier court that the safe speed to approach a roundabout was 34-42kph. Casey was travelling at 80kph.