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HMA v Scott Gilligan
Nov 15, 2023
On sentencing Lady Stacey told Gilligan:
“I have to deal with the sentence which the court must impose on you Mr Gilligan following the road traffic accident on 14 June 2021. Mr Cullen lost his life and nothing that I can say or do can do anything to take away the grief that the Cullen family have felt since it happened and will continue to feel. Mrs Mansell was seriously injured and the accident has had a lasting effect on her life.
You have pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and you acknowledge that your driving was well below that required of a careful competent driver. Your driving can be described as a deliberate course of bad driving with disregard for the danger being caused to others. I say that because you were seen by other drivers driving at speed and aggressively and erratically before you turned into the A736. At the last calling of this case I saw the video which showed you straddling the white lines which separate the two lanes of the road as you apparently sought to overtake a small van in front of you. Your speed has been calculated by the police at that stage as 69mph. Speed limit was 40mph. It was certainly driving that created a very significant risk of danger to others. Sadly the road accident which you risked causing did occur, causing death and serious injury.
Mr Cullen was driving in the opposite direction to you normally and within the speed limit. You moved over into his lane at a bend in the road driving at speed and collided head-on with his car. Mrs Mansell was walking on the pavement at that time and the collision caused Mr Cullen’s vehicle to collide with her. Mrs Mansell ended up badly injured on the other side of a big hedge. She was out of sight, but Mr Cullen, who was badly injured, very helpfully told the police that his car had been propelled into Mrs Mansell and so the police cut through the hedge and found her.
You gave your name to the police at the scene and of course were tested for drink and drugs and you were not under the influence of either. You had no insurance for driving. You suffered injuries yourself, comprising fractures to your feet, your neck your spine and your left wrist. I understand from Mr Mitchell that you do not want to make too much of that no doubt due to the injuries sustained by Mr Cullen and Mrs Mansell.
The accident had catastrophic injuries for Mr Cullen. He was admitted to hospital where he remained until 10 September 2021 when he died. He required intensive care with prolonged ventilation. He remained weak and after three months his condition deteriorated. The post‑mortem noted that his death was from complications of chest injuries due to a road traffic collision. His family have been left bereft. I have read the impact statement from Mrs Cullen who feels that her future has been taken away.
Mrs Mansell also suffered serious injuries in the accident including fractures to her arm and ribs and a collapsed lung. Her kidney was injured. All of that has had a considerable effect on Mrs Mansell’s life as she now requires to attend her doctor regularly for review and will have to do so for the rest of her life. Previously she had been in good health but now feels that her physical injuries and the psychological impact of the accident have left her feeling anxious and not the woman she was.
You have previous convictions which include road traffic convictions, most of which took place between 2006 and 2007. I regard them as aggravating the situation. You also have a conviction in 2018 not related to road traffic.
I have read carefully the report which has been prepared for me and I note all that is written there. I have also listened to all that has been said very helpfully on your behalf by Mr Mitchell. I understand that you were picking up a prescription from the chemist. You were driving your mother’s car, on a road that you knew well. I know you have watched the video and cannot explain why you tried to overtake. You accept you did not have insurance. I accept that you have thought about what you did that day and that you are remorseful. As I’ve said I also take into account the fact that you do not have a clean driving record.
I require to impose a sentence which reflects the gravity of the harm which you have caused as well as your own culpability, looking at what you did. I regard this as a case where the driving was serious and where it was aggravated by the fact that another person, a pedestrian, was seriously injured. It is further aggravated by your having no insurance, and your having a record of road traffic convictions, albeit some time ago.
In mitigation you were injured seriously and have been left suffering pain. I accept you have shown remorse.
You pled guilty at a preliminary hearing which mean that there was no need for a trial. You are entitled to a discount in sentence for that, which I have applied to 25% to both the period of imprisonment and to the period of disqualification.
The sentence which I impose is one of imprisonment for a period of 7 years and 6 months, backdated to 17 October 2023.
You will be disqualified from driving or obtaining a driving licence for 9 years and 9 months, which is a period of 8 years discounted to 6 plus one half of the custodial sentence. You will require to sit the extended test of competence to drive. As regards charge 3, I have taken it into account in the sentence imposed and will not impose any separate penalty on it. I will admonish you and order that your licence is endorsed.”