A Dublin father-of-five with a history of drink driving has been given a three-year sentence for knocking down a pedestrian leaving him with crushed legs.
Gardaí had been chasing Joseph Whelan (aged 32) in their patrol car when he knocked down Mr Paul Carberry Delaney and continued on his way without slowing down.
Whelan became aggressive toward arresting officers when his car came to an abrupt stop a short distance away and claimed he had only had “a few drinks”.
Garda Michael Hughes revealed that Whelan later sobered up, became very apologetic and expressed a desire to visit his victim in hospital.
Whelan, of Parlickstown Green, Mulhuddart, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm, drink driving and driving with no insurance at Rusheeny Avenue, Clonsilla after 4am on February 27, 2009.
He has 15 previous convictions, including some road traffic matters, and at the time he had been disqualified from driving.
Judge Katherine Delahunt noted Mr Delaney had suffered “catastrophic injuries” and had spent three and a half weeks in hospital following the “horrific accident” but said she acepted that Whelan’s remorse was genuine.
She imposed a three-year sentence but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions. She disqualified Whelan from driving for seven years.
Gda Hughes told Ms Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that Mr Delaney fractured multiple bones in his legs, suffered nerve damage, required plates and screws in both limbs, had severe scarring and also required skin grafting in some places.
He said in some places doctors had to cut muscle tissue to ease pressure on the injured party’s legs.
He added that Mr Delaney receives ongoing medical treatment for his extensive injuries.
Gda Hughes told Ms Cummins that he and a colleague noticed Whelan’s Opel Astra strike a roundabout kerb as it drove at speed from Huntstown.
The car struck Mr Delaney after he had been dropped off by his uncle in a white van across the road from his house.
The car drove on toward Rusheeny village at around 90 mph until it stopped abruptly and Whelan and a female passenger emerged.
Gda Hughes said Whelan appeared unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol.
The garda agreed with Ms Fiona Murphy BL, defending, that her client was absolutely disgusted at his offence once he’d sobered up.
He agreed Whelan had taken his friend’s car after being nominated for a cigarette run at a house party.
The garda agreed that Whelan had had a dysfunctional upbringing and had often borne the brunt of his father’s wrath when he tried to stand up for his mother.
He agreed Whelan had stayed in various women’s refuges growing up and was homeless for a time as a teenager.
Ms Murphy submitted to Judge Delahunt that her client had been “struck by remorse” once he sobered up in custody and had since taken steps to rehabilitate himself from alcohol problems.
She asked the judge to consider her client’s early guilty plea, his genuine remorse and the efforts he had made to change his lifestyle.