A woman whose car collided with a motorcyclist after she failed to see him coming towards her has been given a suspended sentence for careless driving causing his death.
Earlier this week, the sister of Jose Eduardo Silba Pereira told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that while their hearts bleed for him in the wake of his death, they do not wish any harm or pain on Kim Ng Swan (59), the driver in the incident.
Swan of Ballycullen View, Ballycullen, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of careless driving causing the death of Mr Pereira (36) at Kimmage Road West on December 30th, 2021. She has no previous convictions.
The court heard that on the night in question, Swan was turning right and did not see Mr Pereira, who was travelling towards her in the opposite direction. He collided with Ms Swan’s car, was thrown from his motorbike and died at the scene from his injuries.
Sentencing Swan on Friday, Judge Orla Crowe said it was a “very, very tragic set of circumstances” that had brought Mr Pereira’s family members to court.
“An extraordinary feature of the victim impact statements from his sister and widow was the absence of any animosity,” the judge said. “It is a mark of huge compassion and grace towards someone who was in Ms Swan’s position.”
The court heard Mr Pereira was a Deliveroo driver, was originally from Portugal and had been living in Ireland since 2001.
Judge Crowe noted that Swan was not speeding, was not distracted nor on her phone at the time of the accident, but she failed to see Mr Pereira coming towards her when she made the right turn, the court heard.
“She simply should have seen in the eight seconds the motorbike coming towards her,” the judge said.
It was a “momentary lapse of attention” that had “catastrophic consequences” for Mr Pereira and his family, she said. “It’s also a huge burden for the defendant to bear.”
The judge handed down a sentence of nine months, which she suspended fully. She also disqualified Swan from driving for one year.
Dashcam footage taken from Swan’s car of the incident, which occurred shortly after 9pm on the day in question, was shown in court earlier this week. In the footage, Swan could be seen turning right in the path of Mr Pereira’s motorbike, which then crashed into the front of her car, causing her to scream.
The court heard she was extremely distressed in the wake of the incident and remained in her car in a state of shock until gardaí arrived. She offered “unqualified co-operation” to the Garda investigation, including handing over her dashcam footage, the court heard.
Det Garda Peter Lyons told Garrett McCormack, prosecuting, that it was a rainy evening and conditions on the road were wet. A forensic report found Mr Pereira was travelling at around 80 km/h in a 50km zone.
Two witnesses to the crash told gardaí they did not see Swan indicate right before turning. She told gardaí she always indicated before turning.
Mr Pereira’s sister told the court: “Neither me nor my mom wish harm or pain on the person that led to my brother’s death. Justice should be done but it will never bring him back to us. I believe the knowledge of being responsible for someone’s death is painful enough for any human being. I can’t feel anger for the person who crossed paths with my brother and caused his death.”
The court heard Swan is originally from Malaysia and moved to Ireland to do the Leaving Certificate in 1981. She got a degree in marketing and studied childcare. She has been married for 29 years, has three sons and has devoted herself to her family and community, the court heard. Several testimonials were handed into court.
Defending counsel David Staunton said Swan has been profoundly affected by the incident and had a letter in court to give to Mr Pereira’s family. She has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and has not driven since the incident. “It’s a terrible burden for her that she has caused this death,” he said.
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