Judge warns driver who killed cyclist to expect a jail sentence
A judge has warned a Bangor man who admitted killing one cyclist and seriously injuring another by dangerous driving that he "almost invariably" faces a jail sentence.
Hing Tong Cheung (61) had been due to go on trial yesterday at Downpatrick Crown Court, but defence counsel Samuel Magee asked for the charges to be put to him again.
It was then that Cheung, from Hanover Hill in the seaside town, admitted causing the death of Gavin James Moore and causing grievous bodily injury to Gareth Boyle by driving dangerously on the Bangor Road in Ards on July 11, 2017.
Directing the jury of six men and six women to find Cheung "guilty by confession", Judge Neil Rafferty QC thanked the jury for their service and commented that "these are amongst the most difficult type of cases that these courts deal with".
The judge added: "A young man has died and another young man has sustained life-changing injuries and, in fairness to the defendant, he is a man who has never been in trouble in any way, shape or form."
Nothing of the facts were heard in court yesterday, but it was reported at the time that Mr Moore, a 40-year-old father-of-two, and his friend Mr Boyle were out with a group of riders from North Down Cycling Club when they were involved in a collision with a Hyundai 4x4 at around 1.50pm that day.
Tragically, Mr Moore died in hospital as a result of his injuries, while Mr Boyle was left in a critical condition having sustained what were described at the time as serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Supported by family and friends, Mr Boyle, in a wheelchair, along with friends and relatives of Mr Moore, packed the public gallery of the court to witness Cheung's confession.
Following the rearraignment prosecuting counsel Laura Ievers told the judge she would be lodging victim impact statements, while Mr Magee asked for sentencing to be adjourned to allow the preparation of a pre-sentence probation report.
Freeing Cheung on bail until October 24, Judge Rafferty told the killer driver: "I should warn you that the guidelines for this type of offending almost invariably are custodial sentences."
He added: "The fact that I'm releasing you on bail should not be taken as an indication as to how I will deal with you. I mean what I say, that these are incredibly difficult cases and incredibly tragic cases and I can only express my sympathy, and the sympathy of the court, to the family of the deceased and to Mr Boyle personally."