Man gets suspended sentence for fatal road accident case

A man was killed on his 58th birthday while laying out cones for a traffic survey and today the victim's family said they did not want to see a jail sentence imposed on the driver of the lorry that killed him as there had been enough suffering in the case.

A man was killed on his 58th birthday while laying out cones for a traffic survey and today the victim's family said they did not want to see a jail sentence imposed on the driver of the lorry that killed him as there had been enough suffering in the case.

John O’Byrne, aged 28, of 20 St Mary’s Terrace, Rockenham, Passage West, Co Cork, was banned from driving for five years and given a one-year suspended jail sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today on the charge of dangerous driving causing the death of William Wallace at Bandon Road, Bishopstown, Cork, on July 19, 2005.

The deceased was late of Spiddal Cottages, Cloyne, Co Cork. He is survived by his wife and four daughters who indicated through solicitor, Diarmuid Falvey, that while there had been obvious devastation caused by the accident they wanted the judge to be lenient to O’Byrne as nothing would be gained by taking a hard line against him.

While the exact cause of the accident is inexplicable, Sergeant John Freeley said he felt that the driver of the Musgrave’s delivery lorry had nodded off at the moment before the fatal collision.

O’Byrne said to the family today: "I am really sorry. If I could have changed places with that man - I cannot say how sorry I am."

The sergeant said he could not emphasise enough the absence of any aggravating factors in the driving by the accused in the lead-up to the accident.

He was not tired, he had gone to bed at 9.30pm the previous night and he had taken all necessary driving breaks during his working day before the accident at 3pm in the afternoon, and the pre-accident speed of 72 km per hour was described as not excessive.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin praised Sgt. Freeley’s thorough and professional investigation.

He said O’Byrne would have to live with what happened for the rest of his life, and he sympathised with the family of the deceased.

"I am sure you would prefer to be anywhere other than here today," the judge said to them.

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