On 16th August 2015 Darron Gibson, the Everton and Ireland midfielder drove into three cyclists whilst he was over the drink drive limit, causing some (fortunately minor) injuries.
On 1st September, he appeared in Court and was disqualified from driving for 20 months, as well as being made the subject of a 12 month Community Order, for the offences of Drink Driving, Careless Driving, and Failing to Stop after an Accident.
Mr Gibson was out injured which made him feel ‘”very low” at not being able to play‘. In addition, he was recovering from an operation which involved taking various painkillers.
On the 15th August, Mr Gibson had been out drinking”copious amounts of alcohol” with his club teammates. When he got home (seemingly the next day), he had an argument with his wife before deciding to take his car out.
He had been “driving “too fast”, before he mounted the pavement and collided with the men, leaving one with cuts to his legs, elbow and hand.” After this, he carried on driving, colliding with a petrol pump, by which point the police had been called.
When police attended, they noted an obvious smell of alcohol on his breath. Their suspicions proved correct when Mr Gibson blew 57 (well above the legal limit of 35).
Mr Gibson was sentenced to a Community Order of 12 months, with a requirement of undertaking 200 hours unpaid work.
There is a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months. In this case, he got a longer ban – 20 months.
Mr Gibson was also ordered to pay a total of £5,700 in compensations (we think this breaks down as £1,500 for each bike, £1,000 for the cyclist that was injured the most seriously, and £100 for the two other cyclists).
The sentencing exercise would be governed by the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines. The most serious offence on the face of it is the Drink Drive (p124). The guidelines would give a fine and a disqualification of 12-16 months.
This would be aggravated by the other two offences (see p126 for Failing to Stop and p117 for Careless Driving). In fact, when it comes to the Sentencing Guidelines, the Failing to Stop is more serious – it’s probably ‘evidence of bad driving‘ which gives a starting point of a high level Community Order.
Putting these three together, the sentence imposed on Mr Gibson is in line with what we would expect. We certainly wouldn’t expect any appeal to be successful.