Ban for driver who killed cyclist while eating at wheel

By Neil Logan

Paul Brown, aged 30, has had his sentence reduced from causing death by dangerous driving to careless driving after he hit and killed a cyclist while eating a sandwich at the wheel.

In May 2012 Mr Brown ran into and killed off-duty firefighter Joseph Wilkins on a country road at 9pm. He admitted to eating a sandwich while driving, but said that his eyes were on the road and that Mr Wilkins bicycle had no lights or reflectors.

Mr Brown admitted the charge but was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving, with the jury deciding that the incident was a result of careless driving. He was disqualified from driving for one year and must carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.

There can be a significant difference in severity of sentence for causing death by careless driving, and causing death by dangerous driving. Each case is considered carefully to decide whether the behaviour of the motorist was dangerous or careless, and a number of factors are taken into account. In cases involving a collision with another car, cyclist or pedestrian the court will also decide whether the other party in some way contributed to the accident.

If you require legal advice from a solicitor specialising in motoring offences in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 0546.