Fatal crash driver walks free
Victim's family asks for mercy
A WOMAN yesterday successfully pleaded with a judge not to jail her cousin after he admitted killing her father in a car crash.
A tearful Dean Healy of Newport, Co Tipperary, was hugged by his own family and relations of his dead uncle after he avoided a jail term at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court.
Healy (32), who is originally from Hyde Road, Limerick, admitted a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of his uncle, Jim Kinsella (56), at Lissard, Galbally, Co Limerick, on September 6, 2008.
Healy also admitted a charge of drink driving.
The dead man and his nephew had been drinking in a number of pubs before the single-vehicle accident.
Healy and his uncle, a widower who lived at Glenbrohane, Garryspillane, Co Limerick, were described in court as great friends and went drinking in three pubs in Ballylanders -- Gallahue's, the Premier and An Poc Fada -- before driving to the village of Kilross, Co Tipperary.
They drank three to four pints in Kilross and left around 4.15am.
Healy was driving the Mazda vehicle and his uncle, who was not wearing a seat belt, was a front seat passenger.
On a bend near Galbally Healy, who had a provisional driving licence, lost control of the car around 4.30am.
The car struck a tree before ending up in a field.
Judge Carroll Moran was told that the road was wet from rain and that the driver was not speeding.
A urine sample later showed Healy was twice the legal driving limit. Healy, a former pizza delivery driver who had no previous convictions, was due to go on trial before a jury yesterday but entered two guilty pleas before the case was due to start.
The victim's daughter, Tanya Kinsella, told the court via a victim impact statement that her father's death had left "a great void".
"The last two years and nine months have been very difficult. Our father and Dean had a great relationship, they were great friends.
"My father never held grudges and we would like to express we have no ill-feeling towards Dean," the statement read.
"He (Dean) is the father of two young children and we feel these two years and nine months have been a sentence in itself with the anxiety of this upcoming case," Ms Kinsella added.
Judge Moran said the statement demonstrated a great feeling of forgiveness.
"I want to commend them (the Kinsella family) as clearly as I can for this manifestation of Christian charity. We are told one gets one reward in the next life, but perhaps they will get it in this life," the judge said.
Judge Moran imposed a three-year suspended sentence and disqualified Healy from driving for 10 years.