CCTV footage played in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court showed Sean Kearns driving straight at cyclist Marcelo Valencia, causing him to come crashing off his bicycle on the middle of a busy road five years ago.
Kearns (33) with an address at Whitechurch Avenue, Rathfarnam, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment at Drimnagh Road, Crumlin on August 27, 2014.
His victim suffered minor injuries, including soft tissue damage, and has since made a full recovery.
Sentencing Kearns today, Judge Martin Nolan said at the very least, Kearns was “intemperate and reckless” when he struck Mr Valencia. “He was intemperate and probably in a temper,” the judge said.
However, the judge took into account a number of mitigating factors, including that Kearns has worked hard in the intervening years and has a good work history. He suspended the sentence on a number of conditions, including that Kearns pay Mr Valencia the sum of €10,000 within two years.
Garda Michael Leahy told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that Mr Valencia was cycling along the road on the day in question when a car passed by him closely, nearly knocking him down.
Mr Valencia caught up with the car, which was driven by Kearns, shortly afterwards where it was stopped at red lights. He stopped in front of the car and looked in the window to observe the driver.
The court heard Kearns noticed Mr Valenica looking at him and “got very angry”. The lights went green and he drove straight through the cyclist before driving away.
Mr Valencia said he was in a “complete blur”, the court heard. He was thrown into the air and landed on his head and shoulders before being helped by several passers-by.
One witness to the incident described Kearns’ driving as a deliberate action which was “beyond dangerous”.
His car was traced by gardaí and when interviewed, he admitted to driving the car at the time, but denied he knocked down Mr Valencia. He has six previous convictions, including dangerous driving in 2005.
A civil claim in relation to the incident was settled out of court and Mr Valencia received compensation.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client was suffering from depression at the time of the offence, which was not premeditated. “It was done in the spur of the moment, in a rush of blood to the head,” he said.
Mr Spencer said his client was a keen golfer who showed great promise in his youth and had a handicap of one before his form deteriorated. In the years since the incident, he has qualified as a welder and hopes to get back into golf.
After handing down sentence, Judge Nolan observed that “the reference to golf didn’t help him”.
He warned Kearns that if he comes before the court again, even for a trivial matter, then he would be in danger of going to jail.
“What you did was reckless in the extreme,” the judge said.