Sunday 22 April 2018

Dublin man who knocked over a cyclist given a suspended sentence

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

Sonya McLean

A Dublin father of one who knocked over a cyclist causing him serious head injures has been given a suspended sentence.

Kenneth O'Farrell (33) broke a filter light and turned right off a national road before hitting Marcin Maciejewski, throwing him onto his windscreen. He claimed the lights were with him and that the cyclist came “out of nowhere”.

An eye witness who came to Mr Maciejewski's assistance at the scene, held a tracksuit to his head to stem the heavy bleeding. She described feeling the man's skull moving about in her hands.

The victim later received 60 stitches to his head and underwent surgery. He also had two broken hands, a dislocated elbow, stitches to cuts on his back and cuts to his elbow. A victim impact report was handed into court but not read out.

Nicola Cox BL, defending, asked the court to accept that it was a genuine error of judgement on O'Farrell's behalf rather than a case of him speeding.

O'Farrell of Donomore Avenue, Tallaght,, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm at the N81 Tallaght Bypass at the junction with the Fortunestown Road on June 15, 2014. He has four previous convictions including a two year suspended sentence for a drug offence.

Judge Martin Nolan said he couldn't believe on the evidence that O'Farrell saw the cyclist but added “It is puzzling, to say the least, why he didn't see him”.

He noted Mr Maciejewski sustained serious injuries and it still has a huge effect on him.

The judge said there was no speed involved and no suggestion that O'Farrell was drunk, adding that he “was guilty of inattention and failure to concentrate”.

Judge Nolan imposed a two year sentence which he suspended in full on strict conditions and disqualified O'Farrell from driving for four years.

Garda James Good told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting that he arrived at the scene at 3.10pm and O'Farrell identified himself as the driver of the Peugeot who knocked over the cyclist.

Mr Maciejewski had already been taken to Tallaght hospital by ambulance.

O'Farrell told gardaí he had been stopped at a red light waiting to make a right turn, he got the green light, moved across the junction and the cyclist “came out of nowhere”.

The witness who helped the victim later approached gardaí when they were examining the scene and contradicted O'Farrell's version of events.

She was in the vehicle directly behind O'Farrell and claimed that he didn't have the green filter light to turn right. She said there was a gap in the traffic but she could clearly see the cyclist when O'Farrell turned right directly into his path.

This woman told gardaí she didn't see how anyone could have missed Mr Maciejewski. CCTV footage taken from nearby cameras supported this woman's version of events.

O'Farrell was arrested the following August and interviewed again. He said he had nothing to add to his previous statement and commented “Did you think I wanted to kill the bloke? He was speeding.”

Gda Good agreed that Mr Maciejewski had very little recollection of the accident. He remembered cycling to work that morning but his next memory was waking up in hospital with his wife and brother-in-law by his bedside.

He had surgery three days after the accident and was discharged from hospital two days later.

Gda Good agreed with Ms Cox that it was 40 minutes before gardaí arrived at the scene of the accident and O'Farrell had remained there. He agreed that excessive speed was not an issue in the case.

Gda Goode also accepted that O'Farrell's parents came to the station to support him and they have stayed in regular contact with the gardaí to express their concern for Mr Maciejewski's welfare.

Ms Cox told the court her client was a father of one who is no longer with the mother of his son.

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