Man who drank heavily day before crashing has driving ban reduced on appeal

Man who drank heavily day before crashing has driving ban reduced on appeal

A man who had drunk heavily the day before a crash which left his 12-year-old daughter with “horrendous” injuries, has had his driving ban reduced by the Court of Appeal.

Marcin Kazinski (39), with an address on Barrack Street, Cappoquin, Co Waterford had pleaded guilty dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm at a location in Cappoquin on December 23, 2011.

He was ordered to undertake 240 hours community service and was disqualified from driving for 10 years by Judge Keenan Johnson at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court on April 17, 2013.

Kazinski successfully appealed his driving ban yesterday with the Court of Appeal holding that his disqualification should not have been longer than prescribed by statute given the circumstances of the case.

In varying Kazinski's driving ban today, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the background facts of the case were “sad and unfortunate”.

Kazinski had been bringing his daughter's friends home after a sleepover when the accident occurred.

His 12-year-old daughter was in the front seat, and her friends were in the back. None of them were wearing seatbelts.

The suggestion is that Kazinski turned to speak to his daughter and when he refocused on the road ahead there was a pickup truck in front of him with which he collided.

There was no suggestion of excessive speed or anything of that nature being a factor, the judge said.

It was accepted that Kazinski had not drunk any alcohol on the day of the accident but had drunk heavily on the day before and “whether he realised it or not, alcohol was still present in his bloodstream”.

His daughter suffered horrendous injuries in the accident. She was in a coma for some weeks and medical reports described her condition as “spastic quadriplegia”.

Kazinski “immediately” pleaded guilty and the sentence hearing was conducted with “great sensitivity by all”, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

Compelling evidence was given by Kazinski's wife about his role in caring for and supporting their daughter.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the duration of disqualification was not the focus of particular attention in the Circuit Court. It had been submitted “with great force” that custody would not achieve anything but would simply add to the family's enormous difficulties.

Kazinski's wife had been anxious that the disqualification be deferred until she learned to drive. At the time of the sentence hearing she was taking lessons but had not at that stage obtained a license.

It was accepted that it was essential for a driver to be in the house when their daughter was to be brought to medical appointments, physiotherapy, the National Rehabilitation Centre and so on.

In circumstances where a lengthy disqualification period would increase and prolong the family's difficulties and make the task of the parents in caring for the girl more difficult, Mr Justice Birmingham said the ban should not have been for a period longer than prescribed by statute.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garret Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, varied the disqualification period to three years.