Father avoids jail for killing uncle in crash
A WOMAN pleaded with a judge not to jail her cousin after he admitted to killing her father in a car crash.
A tearful Dean Healy of Newport, Co Tipperary, was hugged by family members and relations of his dead uncle after he avoided a jail sentence at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court.
Healy (32), who is originally from Hyde Road, Limerick, pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of his uncle, Jim Kinsella (56) at Lissard, Galbally, Co Limerick, on September 6, 2008.
The dead man and his nephew had been drinking in a number of pubs before the single vehicle accident. Healy also pleaded guilty to a charge of drink driving.
Healy and his uncle, a widower who lived at Glenbrohane, Garryspillane, Co Limerick, were described in court as great friends and went drinking in three pubs in Ballylanders -- Gallahue's, the Premier and An Poc Fada -- before driving to the village of Kilross, Co Tipperary.
They had three or four pints in Kilross and left around 4.15am. Healy was driving the Mazda vehicle while his uncle, who was not wearing a seat belt, was a front seat passenger.
Healy, who had a provisional driving licence, lost control of the car around 4.30am.
Judge Carroll Moran heard that the road was wet from rain and that the driver was not speeding. The car struck a tree.
Healy rang the emergency services and Garda Mary Dorgan from Tipperary Garda Station said: "His priority and concern was for his uncle."
A urine sample was taken from the driver and he was found to be twice the legal driving limit. Healy, who has no previous convictions, had been due to go on trial before a jury yesterday, but pleaded guilty to the two charges just before the case was due to begin.
The victim's daughter, Tanya, provided the court with a victim impact statement on behalf of herself, her sister, Jessica and brother, James.
"The last two years and nine months have been very difficult. Our father and Dean had a great relationship, they were great friends. My father never held grudges and we would like to express we have no ill-feeling towards Dean," the statement read. "He (Dean) is the father of two young children and we feel these two years and nine months have been a sentence in itself."
Such was the impact of the statement on Judge Moran that he read it aloud again and said he found it quiet moving.
"I want to commend them (the Kinsella family) as clearly as I can for this manifestation of Christian charity," the judge said. He imposed a three year suspended sentence and disqualified Healy from driving for 10 years.