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Saturday 1 October 2016

Taxi driver escapes a road ban after food critic knocked down

Food critic Tom Doorley (pictured) suffered two broken shoulders after being hit by a taxi driven by Mark Cruikshanks
Food critic Tom Doorley (pictured) suffered two broken shoulders after being hit by a taxi driven by Mark Cruikshanks

A taxi driver convicted of careless driving after food critic Tom Doorley was knocked down and seriously injured has been fined €500, but spared a road ban.

Mr Doorley suffered two broken shoulders during the incident, Dublin District Court heard.

Mark Cruikshanks (38) of Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to careless driving at Fleet Street in Dublin city centre on October 17, 2014.

He claimed Mr Doorley rushed out in front of his Toyota Avensis, but he was found guilty yesterday by Judge Miriam Walsh.

The court heard he had one prior conviction, imposed in 2003, for driving without insurance - which resulted in a fine and a one-year road ban.

Licence

Defence solicitor Kieran Friel asked the judge to note his client depended on his driving licence for work.

Fining him, the judge noted that in special circumstances the court had discretion not to impose a road ban and she said she would not disqualify him from driving.

Mr Doorley told Judge Walsh he suffered two broken shoulders when he was knocked down. He alleged he checked if any cars were coming before he crossed the Fleet Street junction with Westmoreland Street.

Mr Doorley, who appears as a resident critic in TV3's hit reality show The Restaurant, also writes a food and wine column for a daily newspaper.

He said he went into the city centre for a business meeting and lunch at the Merrion Hotel. He drank two average-sized glasses of red wine. Afterwards, he went to Trinity College to check some references for a book he was preparing, he said.

Later, at about 6pm, he went to another restaurant for another meal during which he drank two small bottles of water.

He then decided to get a taxi home and walked along Westmoreland Street. At the junction with Fleet Street he was on the outside flank of a number of people crossing the road.

"Due to a particular childhood experience I am extremely cautious crossing the road," he told Judge Walsh.

He had said he looked up Fleet Street and confirmed nothing was coming. He claimed he proceeded to cross and he recalled that he was about to step on the pavement on the far side when he spun and ended up on a bonnet of a car, landing on the ground on his back.

The court heard he was then taken by ambulance to St James's Hospital and was given painkillers, and subsequently treated at Blackrock Clinic.

One shoulder was broken in three places and he also broke his other shoulder, the court heard. His left side was immobile for six months and he just recently had surgery.

Shaken

Mr Doorley showed the clothes he had been wearing - a blue jacket, light blue shirt and fawn coloured trousers - and CCTV evidence was shown.

Gda Declan Ryan said it was extremely wet and there would have been a lot of traffic. Though there is lighting in the area, it is not well-lit, he said. Gda Ryan said the taxi driver Mr Cruikshanks was "very shaken up by what happened".

Cruikshanks told the court the road was clear and he would have braked if he had seen Mr Doorley but "he rushed out in front of me".

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