An articulated truck driver who severed a pedestrian’s leg after he dragged the victim under the vehicle will be sentenced later this month.
Zahir Boudahane (50) Clonuske Green, Balbriggan, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious injury on O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, on June 10, 2022. He has no previous convictions.
The court heard that Boudahane was not used to driving in Dublin City Centre. He was driving in the bus lane on Bachelor’s Walk before he broke a red light and took an illegal right hand turn onto O’Connell Bridge. Mr Burke was crossing the road at the time, having come from the Eden Quay direction and Boudahane’s vehicle struck him head on.
The then 32-year-old was dragged under the front of the vehicle with the front wheel driving over his left leg before his foot went under the rear wheel. Mr Burke later told gardaí he could see the bones in his left leg exposed and said there was blood everywhere.
Garda Cathal Keon confirmed a suggestion from David Perry BL, prosecuting, that Mr Burke leg was effectively “degloved”.
Mr Burke was later treated in the Mater Hospital for what was deemed as catastrophic injuries to his leg. He required urgent surgical treatment which ultimately resulted in a below the knee amputation.
There was no victim impact statement before the court as Mr Burke has declined to make one. Gda Keon confirmed that he now uses a wheelchair.
Gda Keon told Mr Perry that Boudahane’s dashcam footage showed that he was driving at 17 km/h at the time of impact and subsequent breath tests showed that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system. He had a full Irish driving license and his tachograph showed that he had “no driver infringement” on the day in question.
Boudahane immediately stopped the truck and got out to check what had happened but he said people who were attending to Mr Burke were shouting at him so he got back into his cab. He said he was about to call the gardaí himself when he noticed a patrol car in his wing mirror.
Gda Keon confirmed that two days later, Boudahane made a voluntary statement at the garda station. He said he had been delivering clothes and furniture to a shop in the city centre that day. He said he had not seen the sign that indicated he could not turn right onto O’Connell Bridge.
He said he didn’t see Mr Burke crossing in front of him as he had been checking his mirrors and suggested that the man had been in his blind spot.
Gda Keon agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that there was evidence from witnesses at the scene that Mr Burke smelled of alcohol.
He further accepted that Boudahane has been on medication for stress since the accident and he no longer works as a truck driver.
Mr McGinn acknowledged that the most aggravating factor in the case was the injury caused to Mr Burke.
He accepted that the fact that his client was driving in a bus lane, broke a red light and took an illegal turn meant that he had infringed traffic regulations that day but submitted that there was no evidence of excessive speed or intoxication.
Mr McGinn suggested that his client was a professional driver who was not familiar with the layout of this particular junction and that he was driving at an extraordinary low speed.
He said his client “behaved as one should at the scene” and that he attended voluntarily at the station to give his account. He also asked the court to take into consideration the fact that he pleaded guilty and has no previous convictions.
Judge Orla Crowe adjourned the case to December 13 next and remanded Boudahane on continuing bail. She asked that Gda Keon make another attempt to see if Mr Burke is willing to prepare a victim impact statement.
Written by Sonya McLean
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