Man who ran over victim he blamed for brother’s death warned over probation breach

Gavin Guerrine mounted the kerb and sent the victim flying 20ft into the air, according to one eyewitness, before driving off at speed.

Gavin Guerrine

Darren Guerrine

Ryan DunneSunday World

A man who deliberately ran over a man he believed was involved in the death of his brother, leaving him brain damaged and in a coma, has been warned that if he fails again to engage with the probation services, he could serve five years of a suspended sentence.

“If you come back before me for further breaches, I will reactivate the sentence,” Mr Justice Paul McDermott told Gavin Guerrine (31), with a listed address at Church Grove, Tallaght, after the court heard that Guerrine had failed to keep his probation appointments due to illness.

In January 2011, Guerrine was sentenced to 10 years with the last five years suspended on certain conditions, after pleading guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Christopher O’Rourke in April 2009.

The final five years of the ten-year sentence were suspended on condition Guerrine be of good behaviour for a decade and have no contact with the O’Rourke family.

That court heard that Mr O’Rourke was walking along Huband Road in Bluebell with his girlfriend on the afternoon of April 19, 2009, when Guerrine, who was aged just 17 at the time, drove towards them at speed.

He mounted the kerb and sent Mr O’Rourke flying 20ft into the air, according to one eyewitness, before driving off at speed.

Mr O'Rourke was rushed to St James's Hospital where he remained in a coma with a severe brain injury for a number of weeks.

He had to stay in intensive care for four months in total and had also sustained a number of facial fractures, rib fractures and a serious injury to his knee.

When he regained consciousness he spent a number of weeks in rehabilitation, where he found it difficult to walk and had problems swallowing and talking.

Darren Guerrine

He left Dublin and went to live with his mother in Newry but became depressed and began abusing drugs.

Mr O'Rourke made two attempts to take his own life in 2010 and died one month after his 25th birthday in August 2010, from a drugs overdose.

At the sentencing hearing, a garda explained that Guerrine held a genuine belief that Christopher O'Rourke was involved in the death of his brother and that this belief was at the forefront of his mind when he knocked him down.

Darren Guerrine, of La Touche Road, Bluebell, west Dublin, was shot in the head about 500m from his home in February 2008.

At the Central Criminal Court yesterday, prosecution counsel Imelda Kelly BL said that this matter had been before the court on a number of occasions and there had been a lack of contact between Guerrine and the probation services over the last few months, with the probation officer being unable to contact him since Christmas.

A probation officer gave evidence to the court that Guerrine had made some efforts to contact probation but had not been compliant with urinalysis.

The officer said he was asking the court to remind Guerrine to comply with the probation services, provide urinalysis as directed, and engage with training and employment services.

Ms Kelly said that the terms of the suspension were that Guerrine was to remain under probation supervision for ten years and have no contact with the injured party in this case.

She said that the period of suspension, relating to a conviction for causing serious harm, would not expire until June 2, 2024.

Defence counsel Ciara Murray BL said that the period of difficulty related to the end of January of this year.

She said her client was ill and had been hospitalised as he was being treated for cancer.

“He wouldn’t have been in a position health-wise to take steps for training and education,” said Ms Murray.

The probation officer replied that this may have been so, but he did not have any information on this.

Mr Justice McDermott said that it is perfectly understandable if a difficulty arises due to illness, but if someone is going to bow out for a period for legitimate medical reasons, the probation services need to be told.

“People can’t be expected to be mind readers, and if you don’t engage that’s a breach of probation,” he said.

The judge warned Guerrine that he would not tolerate a situation where the court was not informed.

“If you don’t tell them about it you end up in here, which can lead to you going out the wrong door,” Mr Justice McDermott said.

He said he would not activate the suspended sentence and told Guerrine that if there was a good reason for not attending then the probation services needed to know.

“If there’s not a good reason or they don’t know, we end up back here, and that wastes my time, your time and probation’s time,” he said.

Mr Justice McDermott told Guerrine that he was bound by the order of the court, and if there were any further slips the court would hear about it.

He warned him that if he came back before the court for any further breaches, the suspended sentence would be activated.

“Please engage with the probation services. I’m saying that politely; I won’t be so polite next time,” he said.

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