NSW drunk driver jailed for hit-run death
A drunk driver who fatally struck a Sydney pedestrian after earlier throwing a punch at him in a pub could be out of jail within a year.
Michael Meakin, 50, was on Friday sentenced for dangerous driving causing the death of Nicholas McEvoy during a hit-and-run in western Sydney in February 2014.
He was facing a maximum sentence of 14 years for the 30-year-old's death, but NSW Supreme Court Acting Justice Peter Hidden jailed him for seven years, with a four-year non-parole period.
Meakin, who was estimated to be three times over the blood alcohol limit after drinking 16 beers on the night, has been in custody since August 2016, meaning he will be eligible for parole in August 2020.
Members of McEvoy's family were not in court, while Meakin was emotionless as Justice Hidden delivered his verdict.
Three years ago, Meakin was sentenced to 24 years' jail after being found guilty of Mr McEvoy's murder.
However, the sentence was set aside on appeal before he pleaded guilty in a retrial to the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death in circumstances of aggravation.
Meakin had at least 16 beers during a drinking session at the Plumpton Hotel in Glendenning from 2.15pm to midnight.
He became involved in an altercation with Mr McEvoy over a game of pool, throwing a punch which did not land.
After Mr McEvoy left the pub on foot, Meakin drove off in his work ute despite knowing he was drunk.
Meakin's precise blood alcohol reading could not be determined as he fled and turned himself in to police the next day. However it was estimated he had a blood alcohol reading of at least 0.15.
"I'm satisfied he was affected to a marked degree," Justice Hidden said.
Meakin claimed he did not recognise Mr McEvoy when he struck him, inflicting injuries including a fractured spine.
Justice Hidden said Mr McEvoy stumbled onto the roadway but Meakin was too drunk to avoid him.
Meakin's driving was described as neither erratic nor aggressive and he was travelling within the speed limit, but Justice Hidden said he had "clearly put members of the public at risk".
Meakin drove off, initially along back streets before parking his vehicle behind his house in an effort to avoid detection.
"He sought to protect his own interests ... there was no thought for the plight of the victim," Justice Hidden said.
The court heard Meakin was convicted of three drink-driving offences from 2000 to 2009, as well as having his licence suspended in 2010.