A man who inflicted serious injuries on his friend following an incident that a judge said ‘started off as a joke,’ has received a suspended sentence when he appeared before a sitting of Londonderry Crown Court.
In the dock was Eunan Kelly (21), of Corick Road in Dungiven, who admitted one charge of causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving. The charge occurred on April 4, 2014.
The court heard that on that date Kelly and some friends were watching a boxing match in a bar in Dungiven.
After the fight Kelly, who was the designated driver, gave a lift home to one member of the group.
The court heard how, as they stopped, the injured party got out of the car to go to the toilet.
Kelly then drove away, but only travelled a short distance before returning to his friend, in what Judge Philip Babington described as “obviously a joke”.
It was alleged that the injured party then moved around to the front of the car and placed his hands on the bonnet.
He reported that he could feel the car moving forward forcing him to back away. He eventually ended up sitting on the bonnet of the car to avoid being run over. He was carried on the bonnet for a distance shouting for Kelly to stop.
Kelly then braked, Judge Babington said it was difficult to say how hard he had braked but the injured party came off the bonnet and the car ran over him.
The man sustained broken ribs, a collapsed lung, abrasions and a cut on his head requiring 13 stitches.
When Kelly telephoned the emergency services for an ambulance, he could be heard to say “I’m f----d”.
The Ambulance Service personnel who attended the scene reported the incident to the police who came to the scene.
A breath test on Kelly was negative.
In interview Kelly gave an account in keeping with the facts as outlined by the prosecution and accepted his friend had fallen off the bonnet.
Judge Babington said Kelly was remorseful and had spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital while his friend was detained there.
The judge said it would have been “a bit of a prank if it was not so serious”.
The injured party and the defendant subsequently went on holidays together and the court heard had remained friends.
“This started as joke and escalated into something more serious caused by the defendant’s immaturity and inexperience,” said Judge Babington.
He sentenced Kelly to eight months, suspended for three years, banned him from driving for three years and ordered compensation of £500.