A RETIRED nurse was over the drink limit when he knocked down and killed an 87-year-old man who was crossing the road, a court heard.
Tipperary man Gerard Brett (65) knocked Benedict (Benny) Brady seven feet in the air when he hit him on a dark and wet evening in north County Dublin. Mr Brady was taken to hospital but died six days later.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Brett is on dialysis because of chronic liver failure. His counsel submitted that his condition could have led to a build-up of alcohol in his blood from several nights' drinking.
Judge Martin Nolan remanded Brett on continuing bail for sentence on Thursday. The judge asked if Brett's condition made him more likely to contract an infection in prison. Defence counsel replied that it is a significant factor that the court should keep in mind.
Brett, of Marrian Court, Marton Street, Clonmel, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death by drink driving on Portrane Road, Portrane, on January 21, 2010.
Garda Noel Callan told the court that just before 8pm, Brett was driving erratically and swerving his car. A witness driving behind him later told gardai he thought Brett was going to drive into a ditch as he rounded a dangerous bend.
About 60 yards after the bend, Mr Brady, a "well regarded and popular man", was crossing the road. Brett's car stuck him in the legs and threw him seven feet through the air.
He was taken to Beaumont Hospital where he died on January 27, 2010, having never recovered consciousness. A post-mortem examination found he died of cardiac arrest as a result of swelling on the brain caused by the crash.
Brett had remained at the scene and when gardai spoke to him they noticed he was slurring his words and smelled strongly of drink.
He was arrested and a blood sample showed he had an alcohol level of 266 millilitres.
He admitted having two or three whiskeys in a local pub before getting in his car. Gda Callan agreed that his dialysis may have contributed to a higher blood alcohol level.
An examination of the scene found the road was wet and the victim was wearing dark clothes. There were no skid marks on the road, indicating Brett had not seen Mr Brady before the impact. A witness said Brett was travelling under the 50kph speed limit.
Gda Callan said Mr Brady was known around the area and was "well regarded and popular." He said he was a friendly gentleman who kept to himself.
Defence counsel Micheal O'Higgins said Brett had worked for 40 years as a psychiatric nurse in St Ita's Hospital.
Counsel said Brett lived "a lonely and sad life" and became reliant on visits to the pub. A medical report was handed in stating Brett has to undergo dialysis three times a week and has a poor quality of life. Mr O'Higgins added that Brett has significantly impaired vision.
He submitted that prison will be very hard for his client and asked Judge Nolan to be as lenient as possible.