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Friday 29 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
# careless driving
Man claims he was wrongly convicted and sentenced twice for same crash
The claim was made before the High Court by lawyers representing Luigi Forte.

A 33-YEAR-OLD man jailed for careless driving causing the death of another man in Roscommon has claimed before the High Court he has been wrongly convicted and sentenced twice in respect of the same incident.

The claim was made before the High Court by lawyers representing Luigi Forte.

Forte was jailed for nine months at Roscommon Circuit Court on 3 May last, after he admitted to a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of 22-year-old Dylan Byrne.

Dylan Byrne was a passenger in the car driven by Forte that was involved in a crash at Ardcarne near Boyle, Co Roscommon on 9 August 2016.

Arising out of the same incident Forte was before Carrick on Shannon District Court on 15 May last where he received a five-month prison sentence for driving without insurance.

Forte’s lawyers claim that the five-month sentence is unfair and should be quashed.

At the High Court yesterday, Forte’s barrister Keith Spencer Bl told Mr Justice Charles Meenan that the five-month sentence, which will run consecutive to the nine-month term, means his client has effectively been “sentenced twice for the same matter by two different courts”.

Double Jeopardy

The DPP counsel said the DPP has in this instance “breached the principle of double jeopardy”.

Counsel said the fact his client had no insurance when the crash occurred “formed a major part in Circuit Court Judge Keenan Johnson’s considerations” when he sentenced Forte.

Counsel said when the matter was before the Circuit Court Judge Johnson heard that Forte, of Kilworth Road Drimnagh Dublin 12, had been driving without insurance on the night of the crash.

The Judge also remarked that Forte had one of the worst records that he ever heard for driving without insurance.

When handing down the sentence Judge Johnson placed particular emphasis on the fact Forte had been driving without insurance and said it was the main aggravating factor in the case.

Counsel said the charge against Forte of driving with insurance that came before the District Court on 15 May should have been considered by the Circuit Court, and not have gone before the District Court.

Following counsel’s submissions, Forte secured permission from the judge to bring an action against the Director of Public Prosecutions against the five-month sentence he received at the district court.

In his action, Forte seeks orders including one quashing the conviction he received for driving without insurance and the five-month prison sentence he received at the District Court.

Forte also seeks a declaration that the sentence he received was not in accordance with law and breaches his right under Article 38.1 of the Irish Constitution.

Counsel, instructed by Niall O’Connor & Co Solicitors, said his client also seeks an order quashing an order made at the Circuit Court which incorrectly states his client was convicted of an offence of dangerous driving causing death.

It was accepted by the DPP that Forte admitted to, was convicted of and sentenced for the offence of careless driving causing death, counsel said.

Permission to bring the action was granted on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was present in court.

The Judge who noted that Forte is not challenging the lawfulness of his detention adjourned the case to a date in June.

Comments are off as the case is before the courts.

Aodhan O'Faolain & Ray Managh