A widower whose wife was killed in a car crash said today that the accident had taken away the woman he loved for 35 years but he and his two children did not want to see the man responsible going to jail as there had been enough suffering already.
Joe Le Blanc of Innishannon, County Cork, gave evidence this evening on behalf of himself and his son and daughter, as Paul O’Mahony, 25, of Farranhoe, Innishannon, faced sentencing on the charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Goretti Le Blanc a few miles from her home on October 22 2004.
Judge Patrick J. Moran praised the generosity of the Le Blanc family for the attitude that they took towards the accused man in the case. Judge Moran said: “This is a difficult time on Irish roads with a lot of accidents due to speed and other factors. I accept there was not any drink involved or anything like that. Mr Le Blanc is very generous towards you (O’Mahony).
"He does not wish me to impose a custodial sentence. That is particularly generous in the climate we are in at the moment. This is the kind of offence that deserves a prison sentence.”
He imposed a €7,500 fine, or one year in prison in default of payment. He banned the defendant from driving for ten years Garda Robert Brosnan who investigated the case said that weather conditions were atrocious on the day of the lunchtime accident.
While Paul O’Mahony was not breaking the speed limit he was going too fast for the prevailing
conditions, according to the guard.
He said the defendant was on the inside lane of two lanes going towards Bandon from Innishannon. At a bend in the road two miles from Bandon, the defendant lost control of his 4X4 jeep and it spun around in an anti-clockwise manner crossing the outer lane and into the path of oncoming traffic causing a collision with the late Mrs Le Blanc’s car.
She was 52 years old.
Tom Creed, senior counsel, said the defendant felt unable to speak in court and would be writing to the Le Blanc family who are his neighbours.
Mr Creed said the defendant had pleaded guilty to the charge of dangerous driving causing death even though he might have had the charge reduced to careless driving if he contested it. He said the defendant did not want to cause any further pain to the family of the deceased.
His father, Bernard O’Mahony, spoke for his son. “There will be no day go by when some member of our family does not speak of it, with regret obviously.”
Mr Creed said the defendant felt sad and ashamed about what happened and he took responsibility for it.