Polish drink-driver escapes jail after vowing to go home

Laganside Courts at Chichester Street, Belfast.
Laganside Courts at Chichester Street, Belfast.

A Polish man who inflicted multiple injuries on another motorist in a drink-driving episode escaped jail yesterday 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 facility.

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.

The barrister acknowledged the victim is still recovering from the accident but claimed Giluk, who came to the Province in 2005, 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 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.