Belfast Telegraph

Drunk driver who downed Polish liqueur then crashed pledges to leave Northern Ireland

A Polish man who inflicted multiple injuries on another motorist in a drink-driving episode escaped jail today after pledging to leave Northern Ireland.

Tomasz Jan Giluk was more than three times over the limit when he crashed into Neil Andrews' car at Stranmillis Embankment in south Belfast.

He is now set to return to his native country after a four-month prison term imposed on him was suspended for three years.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Giluk, 28, got behind the wheel after downing Polish liqueur brought over by visiting friends in February last year.

His car then collided with Mr Andrews' vehicle as it emerged from Queen's University PEC sports centre.

The victim was knocked unconscious by the collision and had to be freed from his vehicle.

He suffered bleeding to the brain, multiple leg fractures and lost a tooth in the accident on February 20 last year.

Mr Andrews, who had earlier been playing squash, was said to remember nothing more about the incident after getting into his car

Giluk, with an address at Whitehall Square, Belfast, admitted charges of driving with excess alcohol and causing grievous bodily injury by careless driving.

He was travelling at around 50mph at the time of the crash.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd accepted it was far too fast for the stretch of road at the embankment.

The barrister acknowledged the victim is still recovering from the accident but claimed Giluk has been traumatised too.

"He has also suffered a lot of sleepless nights and nightmares about the incident," Mr Boyd said.

Deputy District Judge Peter King was told Giluk maintained "a proud work record" since coming to Northern Ireland in 2005.

Mr Boyd explained: "He's not someone with a drink problem; he had taken drink that night with friends over from Poland who brought a Polish liqueur as a gift.

"Spirits were high and he foolishly decided to drive a short distance with tragic consequences."

The court heard Giluk now plans to go back to Poland to look after his mother.

Judge King said the amount of drink taken was an aggravating factor in a case which passed the custody threshold.

But after the defendant assured him of his plans to return home he decided to suspend the four month prison term.

He told Giluk: "What has saved you today is perhaps the attitude of the person who was injured, your plea of guilty and the fact your intention is not to remain in Northern Ireland."

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