THE sentencing of a trucker who admits his careless driving caused the death of a keen cyclist on a Carlisle bypass roundabout has been postponed – but a judge has reassured the driver he won’t be sent to prison for the offence.
Michael Seminara, who was aged 71 and lived at Wetheral, lost his life in a tragedy which occurred while he was riding an electric bike along the A689 north-west of the city on March 29 in 2018. Mr Seminara was hit by a lorry towing a log-laden trailer which was being driven by Neil Gass, 47, as both were negotiating the Cargo roundabout.
Carlisle Crown Court heard earlier this year that Gass accepted making a “careless assumption” in a “split-second” about the cyclist’s planned route, and began an overtake believing he had enough room to pass.
Gass, of Prior Avenue, Canonbie, was acquitted by a trial jury in January of causing death by dangerous driving having denied that charge. He does admit causing death by careless driving, and was due to have been sentenced for that matter at the crown court this morning (MON).
However, the case was adjourned after the judge, Recorder David Temkin, revealed a “point of law” had arisen ahead of today’s hearing. Details were not aired in open court. Prosecution and defence counsel were invited to prepare documents setting out their respective views on the legal issue during the next fortnight.
Recorder Temkin said he was conscious there had already been delays to the case which, he said, “is a matter of great regret – great regret to the family of the late Mr Seminara”. He insisted: “My immediate aim is to conclude this matter as soon as possible.”
Recorder Temkin fixed a new hearing date for August 6. Granting Gass bail until then, the judge told him: “Everybody here in court knows you were waiting and expecting to be sentenced today. You have waited a very long time for that, and obviously Mr Seminara’s family and supporters were also expecting that to take place.”
In what he described as “unusual circumstances”, he said he had concluded it was “only right and fair” to tell Gass that he wouldn’t be sent to prison for the offence he had admitted. “That matter you can rest assured about,” said the judge.