Court dismisses appeal against sentence for dangerous driving

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal against the three year jail sentence imposed on a Lithuanian man who struck a pedestrian, who had both legs amputated as a result of the injuries he sustained, while driving a van in a dangerous manner.

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal against the three year jail sentence imposed on a Lithuanian man who struck a pedestrian, who had both legs amputated as a result of the injuries he sustained, while driving a van in a dangerous manner.

Last year at Nenagh Circuit Court Lithuanian Stas Belov, 23, Bruach Tailte, Nenagh was jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing harm at Benedine Nenagh, at 1am on July 17 2006.

Today the three judge court of Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan, presiding sitting with Mr Daniel Herbert, and Ms Justice Maureen Clark dismissed Belov's appeal against the three year sentence.

The van Belov was driving hit 54 year-old civil servant Patrick Lynch, from Nenagh, who was out walking at the time.

Mr Lynch, who was present in court during the hearing, was dragged along a wall by the van and ended up close to a railway line, and suffered numerous serious injuries, and the many operations he underwent.

Both his legs had to be removed, one from above the knee the other from below. Mr Lynch is confined to a wheelchair for life.

Moving the appeal counsel for Belov Rosario Boyle SC said that the appeal was being brought on grounds including that the sentencing judge had erred by not building in some rehabilitative aspect to the sentence imposed, and argued that it would appropriate that some of the sentence should be suspended in order to give Belov some hope.

Counsel added that Belov's father was murdered when he was 15, was abandoned by his mother and ended up in an orphanage, and had addition to alcohol.

Opposing the application on behalf of the DPP Paul Carroll BL said the sentence imposed on Belov should stand.

The maximum sentence that could have handed down in this case was 10 years, counsel said.

In its judgment the CCA dismissed the appeal said that it "in the courts opinion there was no error in the sentence imposed."

Mr Justice Finnegan said that this was "a most serious matter", and noted the injuries Mr Lynch suffered, including the fact that he contracted MRSA while in hospital, and the effects this incident had on both him and his family.

The Court said that Belov also admitted driving the van without the consent of the owner, having no insurance and drink driving.

While the sentences he received for those offences were not subject to the appeal before the CCA, however the CCA believed that the sentencing judge was correct to take them into account when imposing the three year prison term.

Belov, the court added, was over twice the legal drink driving limit when the accident occurred.

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