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Brain trauma Dublin taxi driver who hit young couple crossing city centre street is jailed

After Tajudeen Balogun's arrest he suggested that the couple had run in front of the car, and that they were intoxicated. These assertions were all “manifestly inaccurate”

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Tajudeen Balogun at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Tajudeen Balogun at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Tajudeen Balogun at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A taxi driver has been jailed for careless driving causing serious harm after he hit two pedestrians crossing a city centre street.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Tajudeen Balogun (64) failed to look ahead into a junction before turning right from Dame Street in Dublin city onto Trinity Street on the night of September 6, 2018.

He drove straight into a young German couple who had begun crossing Trinity Street before he had begun turning into the street.

One eye witness later told gardai that the car came out of nowhere. Balogun did not apply the brakes and his lawyers said that he clearly didn't see the couple.

Verena Schneider was glanced by the side of the car and received minor bruising. Her husband Benjamin Schneider was behind her and took the full brunt of the impact and was thrown onto the road.

The back of his head hit the ground and he suffered multiple skull and spinal fractures and severe brain trauma. While he can now walk and talk again, he is left with significant cognitive deficits.

Balogun stayed at the scene and was upset. There was no evidence of intoxication or speeding being factors in the incident.

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Tajudeen Balogun

Tajudeen Balogun

Tajudeen Balogun

 

Last November Balogun of Rosscourt Grove, Balgaddy, Lucan, Co Dublin was due to go on trial when he pleaded guilty to careless driving causing serious harm.

In a victim impact report Mr Schneider said that he and his partner had married in 2018 and had intended to start a family but their lives and plans were now destroyed. He said his injuries left him with the mental state of a preschool child.

His wife said what previously was a partnership of equals has been destroyed and she has had to give up her chosen profession as a teacher, and her hobbies of violin playing and carol singing, to look after her husband.

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Martin Dully SC, defending said his client was a father of four who was absolutely devastated that his actions have resulting in the appalling outcome.

“Not a day goes by that he doesn't consider and think about the injured parties and what has befallen them,” counsel said.

He said a forensic collision expert contracted by the defence identified a blind spot in the driver's model of Peugeot which restricts ability to see when turning right.

Judge Melanie Greally said that it was abundantly clear from CCTV of the collision that Balogun would have seen the pedestrians if he had been looking at the roadway ahead of him.

She said he didn’t alert them to his approach, didn't slow his car and he didn’t apply his brakes until after impact.

She said after his arrest he suggested to gardai that the couple had run to beat his car and had run in front of the car, and that they were intoxicated. She said these assertions were all “manifestly inaccurate” and it was very clear that the injured parties were in no way responsible for the collision.

She said Mr Schneider's wife now has a life-long role to her dependant husband.

She noted Balogun's lack of other convictions, his good character references, his good record as a taxi driver and his genuine remorse.

“Notwithstanding his good character and lack of previous convictions, a custodial sentence is necessitated,” she said.

The maximum sentence for this offence is two years. Judge Greally set a headline sentence of 21 months, but reduced this to 14 months to take the mitigating factors into consideration. She suspended the final six months and disqualified Balogun from driving for four years.

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