Judge's mistake leads to reduction in killer driver Dean Stepan's sentence
A KILLER driver who caused the death of a young woman in a horrific crash has won a reduction in his prison sentence after a judge admitted he had made a mistake.
Banned driver Dean Stepan's defence team successfully argued that he had been given too long an overall sentence.
He had been jailed for two years at Grimsby Crown Court on January 18.
But the case resurfaced at Hull Crown Court when defence solicitor advocate Richard Hackfath argued that the prison term imposed by Judge Mark Bury was too long and did not accord with sentencing rules.
Stepan, 31, of Pelham Court, Pelham Road, Immingham, admitted dangerous driving, drink-driving and having no insurance on July 10, and drink-driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance on December 15.
He was banned from driving for life.
Stepan had blatantly ignored a ten-year disqualification imposed when he was jailed for seven years in 2005 after a death crash in which he had been drinking heavily.
Judge Bury branded him a "positive danger to the public".
At the resumed hearing, Mr Hackfath did not dispute the 15 months imposed for dangerous driving, but claimed that other linked offences ought legally to have resulted in consecutive sentences totalling only a maximum of six months instead of nine, making a total of 21 months, not two years.
Judge Bury agreed to reconsider the matter and told the court that Mr Hackfath's point was "well made". He made a three-month sentence for drink-driving on December 15 concurrent, instead of consecutive, and reduced the overall sentence to 21 months.
He told Stepan: "When I sentenced you at Grimsby Crown Court on January 18, I failed to appreciate that the maximum sentence that could be imposed for summary-only offences, even there being more than two of them, was only six months. The sentence I imposed was nine months."
The seven-year prison sentence imposed at Grimsby Crown Court in June 2005 for causing death by dangerous driving followed a crash in April that year in which 21-year-old Donna Rowntree died. The ten-year driving ban imposed that day included a requirement that Stepan could not drive at all until he had passed an extended retest.