Belfast Telegraph

Sentence on death driver 'too lenient'

A 16-month jail sentence imposed on a civil servant for causing death by dangerous driving was unduly lenient, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Senior judges were told Steven Warnock (25), who worked at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, was allegedly showing off when he crashed his Honda Civic into a Volkswagen Golf outside Portavogie, Co Down, in April 2009. The other driver, John Cully (20), was killed instantly. Warnock's car passenger was seriously injured.

Earlier this year Warnock, of Portavogie, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving. He was given a 16-month sentence, of which half was to be served in prison and half on licence.

Appealing the sentence on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gerry Simpson QC claimed the speed Warnock was driving at on the wrong side of the road was an aggravating factor.

He added: "This is not a case where the sentence could be described as anything other than unduly lenient."

His barrister, Adrian Colton QC, told the court he has completed a victim impact course in prison and enlisted for a restorative justice programme.

"That reflects what the trial judge said about this man, this is a man of worth, integrity and industry who, tragically on this occasion, acted completely out of character," Mr Colton said.

He argued that the speed he had been driving at formed the basis for the dangerous driving charge, rather than a further aggravating factor.

The three judges hearing the appeal reserved their decision.

Belfast Telegraph

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