Killer driver can go to son's First Communion before prison term
A motorist who caused the death of a 70-year-old woman through dangerous driving has been allowed to attend his son's First Communion before going to prison for five years.
Postman David Byrne was convicted in March at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for causing the Patricia Dunne's death.
The court heard that Byrne (42) has Type 2 Usher Syndrome, a degenerative eye disorder that causes peripheral vision loss.
Yesterday, Judge Patricia Ryan agreed to a request by his lawyer, Michael O'Higgins, to allow Byrne to attend his son's First Communion.
Byrne, who has no previous convictions, took an undertaking in court to present himself at Mountjoy Prison on Monday morning to start his sentence.
The father-of-two, of Sunnyhill, Castlemartin Lodge, Kilcullen, Co Kildare, had pleaded not guilty to causing the death of Mrs Dunne at Collins Avenue East, Killester, Dublin, on October 16, 2015.
He also denied dishonestly inducing the National Driving Licence Service (NDLS) to issue him with a driving licence on September 30, 2014, and making a false or misleading statement to get insurance on September 16, 2015. He was found guilty of all three charges.
At the sentence hearing last week, Mrs Dunne's son, John, read from his victim impact statement and said his family would never forgive Byrne.
He said Byrne had put them through two weeks of hell in court by not pleading guilty to the dangerous driving causing death charge. He said the family believe his mother's death was a factor in his father's death.
The trial heard that Mrs Dunne had been walking home pulling a shopping trolley around midday when she began to cross the road.
A van slowed to allow her to cross, but Byrne's car then hit her and she was "flung up in the air" before the vehicle came to a stop.
Gda Pamela Dunne told Fionnuala O'Sullivan, prosecuting, that Byrne went to the garda station the following day and gave consent to access his medical records. He told gardai he couldn't recall being advised not to drive in 1997.
Passing sentence, Judge Ryan extended her sympathies to Mrs Dunne's family, saying that it had been inappropriate to do so before now.
She acknowledged that a doctor's report described Byrne as a psychologically vulnerable man who has been unable to accept his disability for most of his life.
The judge ordered that Byrne receive appropriate treatment in prison for his medical condition.