News Courts

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Drink driver who left young mother with brain injury has jail term cut

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A woman who was almost three times the legal limit when she knocked down a mother of two leaving her with a brain injury has had her jail term cut on appeal.

Jayne Kearney (27), of Foxborough Downs, Lucan, Dublin, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Blathnaid Molloy and driving while intoxicated at City West on March 8, 2014.

She was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on January 12, 2015.

Kearney had the final nine months of her three year term suspended today following an appeal.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said Kearney had been attending a fund raising event at Citywest Hotel on the night in question. The injured party, Ms Molloy, and her husband had been attending the same event though they did not know each other.

Kearney intended to stay in the hotel that evening but had a falling out with her boyfriend and, as a result of this, decided to go home. As she was driving from the hotel she knocked the injured party down and failed to remain at the scene.

Kearney, a trainee hairdresser, had a number of previous convictions for speeding and one for driving without insurance. She herself lost a younger brother in 2008 as a result of a road traffic accident.

The Court of Appeal did not regard the three year sentence as inappropriate but that the judge fell into error by failing to at least give consideration to suspending part of her sentence with a view to incentivising rehabilitation, Mr Justice Sheehan said.

The evidence before the sentencing judge provided strong grounds for optimism that such an incentive would be availed of, if provided, the judge said.

In addition to the material before the Circuit Court, the Court of Appeal received an “excellent reference” form the Governor of the Dóchas Centre.

Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would suspended the final nine months of her sentence.

She was required to enter into a good behaviour bond and she undertook to be so bound.

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