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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 10 April, 2020

Driver jailed for 5 years over causing death of man when he broke red light while speeding

Michael Jones was found guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of Hong Qing Qu at Blanchardstown Road South.

Image: Shutterstock/Bennian

A MAN WHO caused the death of a father-of-two in a two-car collision when he broke a red light while driving at around twice the speed limit has been jailed for five years.

Michael Jones (25), a roofer from Whitestown Drive, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Hong Qing Qu at Blanchardstown Road South on November 17, 2015.

After a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last December a jury found him guilty of the charge.

This morning Judge Patricia Ryan imposed a sentence of five years imprisonment. She backdated the sentence to December 19 last, the day Jones first went into custody, and also disqualified him from driving for life.

Serious injuries

Sergeant Stephen Byrne told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that Mr Qu was driving home from work when his car was struck by an Audi A3 driven by Jones. Mr Qu sustained serious injuries and was brought to James Connolly Hospital in Dublin where he was pronounced dead.

Sergeant Byrne said that gardaí were able to determine that Jones had driven through a red light and was travelling between 115km/h and 137km/h at the point of collision. The speed limit of roads in the area was 60km/h, the court heard.

Jones was taken from the scene by men who put him into a Volkswagen Passat and drove him to a hospital, where they left him lying on the ground. Jones gave a false name and said he had injured his leg in a fall.

‘Where’s papa?’

In her victim impact statement, which she read aloud in court, Hong Qing Qu’s widow said that her two children always ask her “Where’s Papa?”. She said because they are too young to understand death she tells them that he is a “hero”.

“If the driver slowed down just a little bit, I wouldn’t have lost my husband and my children wouldn’t have lost their father,” she said.

She said that her husband’s parents had not seen their son in 10 years by the time they saw him lying dead in the hospital. She asked the court to picture an old man shouting and screaming at his son to wake up.

She said she wanted justice and “to let my children know that the law in Ireland is truthful and that the person who made the mistake has to take responsibility”.

After reading her statement she held up a photo of her husband to Jones and shouted that she wanted him to see how young Hong Qing Qu had been at the time of his death.

Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, said his client wished to express his remorse for his actions. Jones has no previous convictions.

Judge Patricia Ryan said that Jones was driving well in excess of the speed limit and that he went through a red light which had been red for a “considerable time” prior to the collision.

She said the mitigating factors were that Jones admitted to driving the Audi, his lack of previous convictions, his “relatively” young age, his good work history, his expression of remorse both in the hospital after the collision and in court and that he himself was injured in the collision.

Judge Ryan said that without mitigation the appropriate sentence would have been seven years imprisonment.

She extended her sympathy to the wife, children, parents and extended family of Hong Qing Qu and said that she had taken the content of the victim impact statement into account when considering the sentence.

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Brion Hoban

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