A 20-year-old who killed a cyclist while driving his car under the influence of cannabis has been sentenced to four years in a young offenders’ institution after being convicted by a jury of causing death by careless driving while being unfit to drive due to drugs.
The victim, 51-year-old Andrew Rollo, who worked for Rolls-Royce in Derby, died in the Royal Derby Hospital two hours after being hit by a Mercedes A Class driven by Dominic Falivena on 29 July 2009.
Sentencing Falivena and disqualifying him from driving for three years, Judge Robert David Trevor-Jones, sitting at Shrewsbury Crown Court, said: "Whatever punishment and sentence I impose on you will never restore the life of the deceased.
"His widow, who was seriously ill at the time, was cared for by him. Her life has now ended as well, due to her illness."
Falivena had denied being responsible for Mr Rollo’s death, saying that he had swerved to avoid a small red car being driven in the middle of the road, causing him to lose control. However, his two passengers said that they couldn’t remember having seen such a car.
Prosecutor Steven Coupland told the court during the five-day trial that when police attended the incident and investigated Falivena’s car, they were "immediately hit by a very strong smell of cannabis," according to a report on the This Is Derbyshire website.
He added that officers found a small bag of cannabis inside the car, as well as empty bags that had previously contained it and a set of scales, and that traces of the substance had also been found in the driver’s urine.
Mark Achurch, representing Falivena, pointed out that he had written a poem about the incident and had it tattooed on his arm to act as a reminder of it, adding, “It is quite apparent that during the course of the trial Mr Falivena showed great remorse."
Shortly after the fatal accident, This Is Derbyshire reported that Mr Rollo’s widow, who was still alive at the time, had called for signs to be installed and drainage to be improved at the bend in Allenton where he died.
Puddles created by heavy rain earlier in the day had been thought to be a factor in the events leading up to his death, but do not appear to have been a determining factor in the court case.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.