Updated: 10.45am 27/7/22
A judge has jailed a well-known rapper from Limerick for careless driving causing the death of Christopher Moran.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Brian O’Callaghan imposed a 15-month prison term suspending the final 12 months on William Casey (30) of O’Briensbridge, Co Clare.
Judge O’Callaghan also imposed a four-year driving ban on Mr Casey.
Earlier this month, Casey, better known as rapper Willzee, won the Music, Arts and Culture award at the Irish Traveller Pride Awards.
Judge O’Callaghan said the case involved “aggravating factor after aggravating factor” and said Casey had maintained a lie that the now deceased Mr Moran was the driver of the car when in fact Casey was the driver in the single-vehicle crash at Ardclooney, Killaloe, Co Clare on November 7th, 2017.
Judge O’Callaghan said Casey was “now fully remorseful”.
Mr Moran (27) was a back-seat passenger in the car that also had three other passengers and four ambulances arrived at the scene after 4am to take the injured away.
Mr Moran died three days later in hospital from his injuries.
Victim impact statement
In her victim impact evidence, the sister of Christopher Moran, Tracy Moran, said that for three years the family were left not knowing what happened on the night of November 7th, 2017.
Ms Moran said that Christopher’s two young girls were left without a father, and they lost their mother a number of months later through an overdose.
She said the family would have accepted an apology from Casey over what happened as she understood that accidents happen.
Ms Moran recounted how when family members were at Christopher’s bedside in hospital, her brother got a phone call from William Casey who said that he wasn’t driving the car but that Christopher was.
She said: “William Casey never apologised or showed any remorse.”
Casey maintained the lie and went on trial for dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Moran in June of last year at Ennis Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death two days into the trial.
Casey was disqualified from driving at the time of the crash in November 2017.
A worker with the Tipperary Rural Traveller Project, Jack Griffin, gave character evidence on behalf of Casey.
Mr Griffin said “William has been on the Claire Byrne show on RTÉ and other national media and has tried to be a positive voice for young Travellers”.
Mr Griffin said that Casey is a talented musician, poet and artist and won a National Traveller Pride award earlier this month.
Asked about the impact of the crash on Casey, Mr Griffin said: “I think what happened on the night was absolutely horrific. William for a long time found it hard to come to terms with his guilt and shame around it.”
Mr Griffin said what happened that night “put William in a very dark place for a long time, and he is working through that, and he struggled”.
Mr Griffin said that Casey “has worked tirelessly to bring something positive to his family and his community”.
In a letter of apology read out in court, Casey apologised to the Moran family for the hurt he has caused them.
“It was never my intention to hurt anyone,” he said. “I was fully responsible for my actions on the night. If there was any way of going back and trading places, I would in a heartbeat.”
Casey said: “I honestly hate myself for the decisions I made that night, and it has taken me a while to come to terms with the disgusting way I behaved.”
The counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL, said that because Casey told gardaí on the night that he was not driving he could not be tested for drink-driving.
Casey embraced and kissed on the cheek his foster mother in court before being led away to the courthouse cell by prison guards to commence his three-month prison sentence.