Drink driver facing return to jail over multiple-death crash
A MAN who killed three people, including a pregnant woman, while drink driving faces the prospect of going back to jail despite having served his sentence.
The Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) has agreed with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that the four-year jail term handed down to Kevin McArdle for dangerous driving causing the deaths of three people was unduly lenient.
The DPP brought the appeal against the sentence handed down to the Monaghan man, who was more than three times over the drink-driving limit at the time of the fatal collision in December 2010.
The CCA, led by Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, said that it agreed there had been an error in principle and that the sentence was unduly lenient. McArdle, who attended yesterday's hearing, has served his original custodial sentence and has been released from prison.
No conditions were imposed on the suspended part of his original sentence.
His case will come back before the CCA in two months' time when the court will decide if he should be sent back to jail.
Judge O'Donnell said that a six-year jail term with two years suspended may have been a more appropriate jail term.
Michael Bowman, for the DPP, said that McArdle had a "fatalistic" attitude towards alcohol consumption.
"It (the sentence) must fall at the higher end, whatever the higher end is," said Mr Bowman, who added that it was difficult from previous sentences for dangerous driving causing death to identify with precision what sentence should apply.
Michael O'Higgins, for McArdle, said a psychological report had concluded that his client knew his actions were wrong and that his remorse was genuine. He was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The CCA heard that Mr McArdle had a number of previous road traffic convictions, including for drink driving and driving without insurance and without a licence.
He had drunk nine pints of lager and up to five glasses of brandy as he and his friends drove from pub to pub on the day of the collision.
Roisin Connolly (38), of Grace Park, Drumcondra, Dublin, was driving on the Carrickmacross by-pass with her husband Stephen when their car was struck by McArdle's BMW.
Doctors delivered Mrs Connolly's baby daughter Catherine, but she also died. Her husband survived with injuries.
Two passengers in the BMW, Glen Curtis and Paul Carroll also died, while another man in that car was seriously injured but survived.