Man whose dangerous driving caused passenger's death has sentenced reduced

A Donegal farmer, who appeared to be asleep as he drove on the wrong side of the road before a fatal road crash in which his passenger died and another motorist was injured, has had his seven-and-a-half-years prison sentence reduced to one of five years by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

The Court of Criminal Appeal today held that the appropriate sentence for Oliver Shovelin, who himself suffered brain trauma as a result of the accident, was one of five years.

Shovelin (aged 33), Clondallon, Rathmullen, was convicted in April 2008 by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of dangerous driving causing the death of his passenger, John Sheridan (19).

He was also convicted of causing bodily harm to another motorist, Deirdre O Brien, at Cookstown, Ardee, Co Louth, in the same incident on July 11th, 2004, and banned from driving for life.

Judge Tony Hunt imposed concurrent sentences totalling seven and a half years and took charges of having no insurance and failing to produce insurance into account.

Shovelin had appealed against the severity of that sentence, and claimed that he was punished for contesting the case, and that adequate weight was not given to the mitigating factors including that he suffered serious brain injury as a result of the crash.

The DPP opposed the appeal.


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