Reporting by Frank Greaney
The Court of Appeal has overturned a sentence handed down to a young man whose dangerous driving caused his friend’s death in Co Tipperary in 2019.
Last year, Phelim Coady, of Garrykennedy, Portroe, Nenagh, Co Tippeary, was given a fully suspended sentence, which the DPP felt was 'unduly lenient'.
When gardaí arrived at the scene of the crash, Coady was in tears lying alongside the body of his friend, Stephen Gleeson.
Stephen died after being thrown from the car after it hit a bend on a country road.
Coady had been drinking and was well over the limit when he was tested. He’d also taken cannabis and was driving without insurance.
At his sentence hearing, Stephen’s family urged the judge not to jail Coady, which he didn’t.
The Court of Appeal agreed that the fully suspended sentence was very lenient, but had to consider whether it was too lenient.
Before mitigation was considered, the judges felt a higher headline sentence should have been applied.
However, they felt the 'exceptional mitigation' in this case would reduce that to two years in prison, which they also suspended in full.
They felt it wouldn’t be in the public interest to jail him for a number of reasons in this 'unusual case', including that he will live with what he did for the rest of his life.