HMA v ANDREA MANCIOPPI

Today at the High Court in Glasgow Lord Matthews sentenced Andrea Mancioppi to one year and eight months imprisonment after he pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving on the 4 September 2008. Linda Brown Gillespie or Lindsay died following an accident on the A9 at Inverton by Kingussie.

 On sentencing Lord Matthews made the following statement in court:

“You have pleaded guilty to causing the death of Linda Brown Gillespie or Lindsay by dangerous driving. That driving consisted of overtaking when it was not safe to do so in the circumstances outlined in the agreed narrative which I heard on the last occasion this case called and in the careful submissions by Mr Finneston.

I need not repeat those here.  Suffice it to say that I am prepared to accept that you may have been confused about the road sign and that you followed at least one other vehicle. Not every witness saw another vehicle but some did. It is far easier to miss something than to imagine that something is there and that is why I am proceeding on that basis.

However, it was up to you, as I am sure you appreciate, to familiarise yourself with road signs and not to trust the judgement of other drivers.

This is indeed a tragic case. It has had and will have consequences for you and your family. You are a young man of impeccable character as is borne out by the numerous testimonials submitted on your behalf. On the other hand, Mr Lindsay, as well as being injured himself has suffered the loss of his wife. That has devastated him and the Court has to mark that appropriately.

In this difficult case I have had regard to certain guidelines in a recent English case called Richardson. Those guidelines are not binding on me but English authorities can be highly persuasive and helpful in dealing with cases under United Kingdom legislation.

I assess your driving as falling within the lowest range of culpability as set out in those guidelines. I can see no aggravating features separate from the offence itself and there is powerful mitigation. However, the fact that you chose to overtake on an unfamiliar road when it was not safe to do so leads me to the conclusion that, despite that mitigation, only a custodial sentence is appropriate. Had the matter proceeded to trial I would have sentenced you to 2 years imprisonment. As it is, taking account of your plea but remembering that, albeit no doubt due to misunderstanding and bad advice from people other than your Scottish advisers you failed to appear earlier and had to be extradited, I will reduce that sentence to one of 1 year and 8 months imprisonment to run from today.

You will also be disqualified for holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of five years and until you pass the extended test of competence to drive or an appropriate equivalent”.