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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019
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Banned hit-and-run driver who seriously injured cyclist jailed for five years

Jonathan Wainyae pleaded guilty to causing serious bodily injury.

Strand Road, Baldoyle, Co Dublin
Strand Road, Baldoyle, Co Dublin
Image: GoogleMaps

A HIT-AND-run driver who was banned from driving when he seriously injured a cyclist has been jailed for five years.

Jonathan Wainyae (33) of St Attracta Rd, Cabra, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing serious bodily injury and to failing to stop at the scene of a collision at Strand Road, Baldoyle, Dublin 9 July 2016. 

Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced Wainyae to six years imprisonment for the dangerous driving offence with the final year suspended on conditions.

These include that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years and engage with the Probation Service for 18 months post release. She also disqualified him from driving for 25 years.

Ryan also sentenced him to two years imprisonment for the charge of failing to stop at the scene. She backdated both sentences to 12 July 2018 and said they would run concurrently.

Detective Sergeant David Ennis told the court that the victim was well illuminated on the night. Jones Justino DaSilva was cycling home around midnight after finishing a shift in a restaurant in Howth when he was knocked off his bike by a car driven by Wainyae.

He suffered a spinal fracture and fractures to his right leg and as a result he was unable to continue working. He told the court that the effects of the injuries put a strain on his marriage and he and his wife eventually split up.

In an emotional statement to the court DaSilva, a Brazilian national, said he came to Ireland with his wife to improve his English.

He said that after the accident he thought he was going to die. He said the period afterwards was very difficult and it took him a long time to recover.

Speaking through a Portuguese translator, he said he had to return to Brazil after the accident and felt depressed and suicidal at times.

“It changed my life very much. I had so many plans. My life was turned upside down. My marriage broke down,” he said.

‘If I could turn back time’

In a written apology, read out in court by his defence barrister, Pieter Le Vert, Wainyae said “if I could turn back time and change what happened, I would.”

“I’d like to apologise to you and your family for the hurt and pain I have caused you. I only wish that I could sit down with you and explain in person that I thoroughly regret my actions.”

Wainyae, who was subject to a driving ban when he hit the cyclist, told the victim that “you were in the right place, it was me that should never have been on the road that night.”

He finished by saying “I don’t expect you to forgive me. I do want you to know how sorry I am.”

Responding to this, DeSilva told the court that he accepted the apology.

“I’ve no issue against him. I would like this situation to make him think and he can have a better life in the future. It was probably a very hard time for both of us.”

“From now on I can do my life and he can do a better life,” he said.

The majority of Wainyae’s 92 previous convictions are for road traffic offences, but he also has convictions for assault, theft and drug dealing. LeVert said he went into custody in 2014 and came out with a “full blown” heroin addiction.

He is currently serving a five year prison term imposed in 2016 for robbery. His barrister told the court that he is engaging with an addiction treatment programme in custody.

Ryan said the aggravating factors in the case were his initially denying any involvement, his being disqualified from driving at the time, his having had 12 disqualifications in the past and the effect the collision had on the victim.

She said the mitigating factors in the case were his guilty plea, his apology, his remorse, his efforts at rehabilitation and the fact that he is using his time in custody well.

‘Glass fragments’

Ennis told the court that the investigation into the incident was painstaking with a huge amount of garda man hours involved.

Gardaí tracked the car back to a housing estate where Wainyae’s then partner Imelda Fitzsimons was living.

The car had damage to the windscreen and front bumper and the two front tires were burst. Gardaí checked the car registration and found the vehicle was registered to Fitzsimons. They called to her home and overheard her and Wainyae arguing.

She confirmed the car was hers and Wainyae told gardaí he was in the house all evening with his partner. An analysis of Wainyae’s mobile phone revealed that his phone was in Howth that evening and that his partner had called the device a number of times.

Before leaving the house, gardaí seized a piece of clothing belonging to Wainyae, who denied being in the car that night. A forensic analysis of this top found glass fragments from the car.

A number of eye witnesses told gardaí that they saw the car being driven at speed shortly before the collision.

Wainyae pleaded guilty on an arraignment date and a trial was never sought, Le Vert said. He told the court that nobody saw his client driving the car and the case against him came down to forensics and CCTV footage.

 Ennis told the court that while Wainyae’s apology was well received by the victim, he felt it came very late.

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Eoin Reynolds

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