Drug addict who drove wrong way up M50 smashing into cars loses appeal

Drug addict who drove wrong way up M50 smashing into cars loses appeal

A drug addict jailed for driving the wrong way up the M50 motorway and crashing into cars has avoided being given extra jail time following his own failed appeal against sentence.

Jimmy Cash (25), with an address at Warrenstown Walk, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance on February 19 2013.

He was sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended by Judge Patricia Ryan on March 15 2014.

Dismissing Cash's appeal against sentence, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the court gave “serious consideration” to increasing his sentence having regard to his previous convictions and the offences he committed after the M50 incident.

The court considered the question despite not being asked to do so by prosecutors.

Giving background, Mr Justice Sheehan said the gardaí were informed about an incident at Rathmichael halting site on the date in question.

As they approached a silver Skoda car with their sirens on, Cash turned off his lights and drove at 100kmh along the Rathmichael Road crossing continuous white lines, overtaking cars and causing oncoming traffic to swerve out of the way.

The gardaí took evasive action, Mr Justice Sheehan said, by deploying the garda helicopter and seeking permission to use a stinger device.

At the Carrickmines roundabout Cash mounted the kerb striking the safety barrier. He then drove the wrong way down a slip road onto the M50 motorway into oncoming traffic.

He hit vehicles being driven by a disabled person and a woman with three children inside before ultimately hitting another vehicle which flipped his car, breaking it in two, resulting in his ejection onto the road.

Had he not been put in the recovery position by gardaí before the ambulance came “he was unlikely to have survived,” Mr Justice Sheehan said.

The Court of Appeal gave “serious consideration” to the question of increasing Cash's sentence.

“The court would have done so” if it weren't for the careful submissions made on his behalf by Micheál P O'Higgins SC, Mr Justice Sheehan said.

Mr O'Higgins submitted that the sentencing judge failed to have adequate regard to Cash's drug addiction and how that was at the root of all his problems.

When asked whether one could think of a worse case of endangerment, Mr O'Higgins said “with some creativity” one could.

He said Cash had been “cut up” three times since going into prison and there had been a further assault on him the previous day.

Mr O'Higgins said the court could see the physical manifestations of that on Cash's face.

In April Cash sought bail pending his appeal and he appeared in court with visible wounds to his face.

His counsel, Karl Monahan BL, told the court at the time that Cash had been the victim of an assault a few days earlier which left him requiring 20 stitches to the left cheek.

Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said there was no error in the sentence or in how the Circuit Court judge approached the sentence.

Accordingly, his appeal was dismissed.

- Ruaidhrí Giblin