Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sonya McLean

A woman who drove over a pedestrian walking behind her car has been given a one-year suspended sentence.

Mary Magowan (88) was parked up in the overflow carpark of Stillorgan Shopping Centre when she reversed into Suzanne Brennan who was walking behind her vehicle. Magowan knocked the woman to the ground, but she continued to reverse at speed, driving over the victim as she lay on the ground.

Magowan continued to reverse the car crashing into another parked vehicle before she crashed into some nearby railings bringing her vehicle to a stop.

Magowan, of Newtown Park Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing serious injury on October 18th, 2021.

Garda Janine Jordan told David Perry BL, prosecuting, that an off-duty garda happened to be passing by and came over to speak to Magowan. The woman was visibly shaken and remained in her car for an hour while she waited for her son and daughter to collect her.

It was accepted that she made immediate admissions and told gardaí that she tried to stop her car when she saw the woman passing by, but she must have mistaken her brake for the accelerator. She later made a full statement to gardaí in the local station accepting full responsibility.

Mr Perry told the court that Ms Brennan (49) was left with a broken pelvis, a dislocated shoulder, numerous fractures to her right arm, nerve damage to both arms, broken ribs and a torn bladder. She spent seven weeks in hospital, undergoing numerous surgeries which included the insertion of a plate in her broken arm. Her treatment is ongoing.

Screaming for help

A victim impact statement was handed into court and not read out. Mr Perry said the victim later told gardaí that she was screaming for help after being knocked down, and her breathing was laboured due to the injuries to her ribs.

It was accepted that Magowan had been deemed medically fit to drive at the time and had a clean driving licence. She surrendered her driving licence after the accident.

Rebecca Smith BL, defending, said her client thinks about the victim every day and is full of remorse and regret. She said she was in complete shock after the accident.

Counsel asked the court to consider Magowan’s immediate admissions, the fact that she has no previous convictions and the fact that she immediately surrendered her driving licence.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was a tragic situation and that Ms Brennan had been effectively driven over after Magowan lost control of the car and spun backwards at a reasonably high speed. He said the injuries suffered were very serious, and they had “a great effect on her life”. He added that she has long term problems.

“Obviously I wish the best for her and I hope she recovers fully. She has endured a lot of pain and suffering because of this accident,” Judge Nolan said.

He said Magowan had made a bad mistake and people make mistakes when driving. “Her age probably contributed to the mistake, but I believe she is very remorseful, and she will not drive again,” the judge continued.

Judge Nolan said he did not think Magowan deserved a custodial term because he “could not identify an aggravating factor in the case”. He suspended a one-year term of imprisonment on strict conditions and disqualified Magowan from driving for three years.

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