A teenager whose best friend was left with serious head injuries when he crashed the motorbike they were on into a car has been placed on a 12-month probation bond.
Jordan Kennedy, 19, swerved to avoid a motorist who was taking a right hand turn-off in front of him but he collided with the car, knocking both himself and Stephen Moore, 19, off the bike.
Mr Moore later had to undergo emergency surgery for a blood clot to his brain. He was put in an induced coma and had to undergo further surgeries before he was ultimately discharged from hospital two months later. He was later re-admitted again for a further operation before he spent some time at the National Rehabilitation Hospital.
Sergeant Robbie Byrne acknowledged that Mr Moore has made a “remarkable recovery” in terms of what was expected from the injuries sustained but he said, having met the teenager recently, “there is still evidence of a brain injury”.
Kennedy of Dunsink Gardens, Finglas West, Dublin 11, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing serious injury on July 8, 2018. Further charges of having no license or insurance were taken into account and Kennedy has no previous convictions.
Sgt Byrne told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that a female motorist had just turned onto Barry Road, in Finglas before taking an immediate right-hand turn onto Casement Drive.
She later told gardaí that she didn't see the bike until it hit her car. She said both teenagers came off the bike, one hitting a pole while the second skidded in front of her.
Sgt Byrne said that Kennedy cut his leg in the crash and later needed stitches to the wound. He told gardaí that the bike belonged to Mr Moore and admitted that he had been driving it. He said the car came out of nowhere and he swerved to avoid it.
Sgt Byrne agreed with Ronan Kennedy SC, defending, that Stephen Moore and his client were best friends and remain so. He acknowledged that there was no ill will harboured against Kennedy either by Mr Moore or his parents.
He accepted that Kennedy and Mr Moore had been driving the bike in a field before “making the foolish decision of driving it on the major road”. He agreed that Kennedy maintains that he was not travelling “too fast” and that the woman was not looking and “just drove right out” in front of him.
Mr Kennedy told Judge Elma Sheahan that his client clearly didn't set out to harm anyone.
“These were teenage boys with time on their hands, exuberance got the better of him. He made the error that was to have lasting consequences”, counsel said.
“It is fair to say that this is something he will never forget. This is his best friend in the world,” he said.
He said his client has to has to live, for the rest of his life, with the fact that his actions led to an injury to his friend. “He confronts this tragedy on a daily basis”, Mr Kennedy continued referring to the fact that the teenagers see each other every day.
Counsel told Judge Sheahan that his client is in the middle of an apprenticeship which he enjoys.
Judge Sheahan said a probation report before the court suggested that Kennedy has “negative peer associates” which are not going to impact him in a positive way.
She was told by Sgt Byrne that he has since come to garda attention for a minor issue and the judge added that this suggests “he is not really understanding the seriousness of the offence”.
Judge Sheahan placed Kennedy on a 12 month probation bond during which time she said he must remain under the supervision of the Probation Service, stay away from those peers identified in the probation report, continue with his apprenticeship and keep a clean record.
“Stop putting your mother through this. She doesn't deserve it,” Judge Sheahan said before she thanked Kennedy's mother for coming to court.
Kennedy was remanded on continuing bail until July 27, 2021 for sentence.