A motorist who deliberately drove into a cyclist in Dublin five years ago has been spared jail. One witness described Sean Kearns’ driving as “beyond dangerous”.
The Irish Times reports that on August 27, 2014, cyclist Marcelo Valencia was closely passed by Kearns on Drimnagh Road, Crumlin, only to catch up with the driver again at the next set of lights.
Valencia pulled in front of the car and turned to get a look at the driver. Kearns saw him do this and “got very angry”.
When the lights turned green, Kearns drove straight into the cyclist, who was thrown into the air and landed on his head and shoulders. He was helped by passers-by, but Kearns drove away.
Afterwards, the car was traced. Kearns admitted to gardai he’d been driving the vehicle at the time, but denied hitting Valencia.
Appearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this week, Kearns pleaded guilty to endangerment. A civil claim had previously been settled out of court with Valencia receiving compensation.
Kearns has six previous convictions, including one for dangerous driving in 2005.
Defending, Keith Spencer BL said that Kearns was suffering from depression at the time. “It was done in the spur of the moment, in a rush of blood to the head.”
Bizarrely, Spencer also saw fit to mention that Kearns was a keen golfer who had shown great promise in his youth and hoped to get back into the sport.
Judge Martin Nolan said that “the reference to golf didn’t help him,” but suspended a three-year sentence, citing as mitigating factors that Kearns had worked hard as a welder since the incident took place and had a good work history.
He also ordered Kearns to pay Valencia €10,000 within two years.
Nolan said Kearns had been “intemperate and reckless” when he drove into Valencia. “He was intemperate and probably in a temper,” he added.