A motorist who was four times over the drink driving legal limit when he knocked down two musicians at Doolin in March 2015 has walked free from court.
In the case at Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys has imposed a six month suspended jail term on Graeme Griffin (30) of Doolin Village, Doolin.
Judge Keys also imposed a four year driving ban and a €500 fine on the tiler.
In the case, Mr Griffin pleaded guilty to drink driving and careless driving causing serious bodily harm to the two men, Liam Joyce (55) and Liam Lyons from Cork (39) on March 1st 2015.
In the incident, Mr Joyce from Burnfoot, Co Donegal, who suffered life changing injuries in the incident, told the court that he has no bad feelings towards Mr Griffin.
The collision took place just over the hump-back bridge that separates McGann’s and McDermott’s pubs in the Clare coastal village with the pedestrians coming from the direction of McGann’s.
In sentencing, Judge Keys said that that Mr Griffin accepted that he made a serious error of judgement to driving on the night and apologised to his victims.
Judge Keys said that Mr Griffin has no previous convictions and has expressed remorse for his actions.
The judge said that the two victims were not wearing reflective gear at the time; that the night was very dark and wet and that Mr Griffin was travelling at 20km per hour.
In his victim impact statement, Mr Joyce said that he was grateful to be still alive from what he called the ‘accident’.
He said: “I have a positive outlook on the future and I want to put all of this behind me and move on. I have no bad feelings towards Graeme Griffin and I hope that he has learned from his mistake.”
In his statement, Mr Joyce said that he suffered compound fractures in his leg bones, the tibia and fibula.
He said that the year after the accident, he had six operations on his right leg. He said: “My prognosis is that I am going to have arthritis in my right leg and it’s painful on a daily basis.”
He added that he has an intermittent limp. He said: “At the time of the accident, I was working but I haven’t worked since and it’s unlikely I will due to the severity of my injuries.”
Mr Joyce said that he had no memory for two days after the accident.
He said: “I spent the next eight weeks in three different hospitals and a nursing home as I was incapable of independent living.”
Mr Joyce said that he had 12 pins inserted in the bone of his right leg. Mr Joyce said that he also had a bone graph due to a bone infection which stopped all the healing for a time.
Mr Joyce said that he sustained a fractured jaw in the Doolin incident. He said: “I couldn’t eat solids for eight weeks…I still have permanent swelling on my right jaw.”
Mr Griffin’s second road victim, Liam Lyons suffered a broken collar bone, severe bruising on his left leg and a broken bone in his right foot.
In his victim impact statement, Mr Lyons from Victoria Rd, Cork said: “I would like to say that I don’t wish Graeme Griffin any ill will. I know that he didn’t do it intentionally.”
The two victims have ongoing civil proceedings against Mr Griffin and counsel for Mr Griffin, Pat Whyms BL has stated that the two will be fully compensated in the civil cases.