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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Judge heeds cone case mercy plea
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith received 180 hours' community service
A judge has decided not to jail a man who injured a student by throwing a traffic cone from a bridge, following a plea for leniency from his victim.

Andrew Smith, 30, was ordered to carry out 180 hours' community service by a judge at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Kate Flannery, 24, from Galway in the Irish Republic, said she had forgiven Smith for the incident last November.

Australian Smith pleaded guilty to throwing a cone from George IV Bridge onto Merchant Street in Edinburgh.

The court heard how he committed the act on leaving a nightclub and had consumed a large amount of alcohol.

Smith launched the cone over railings and it landed on Miss Flannery as she stood below chatting to friends.

I take into account as has been so generously, but correctly, identified by Miss Flannery and her family that you did not act with the intention of causing harm to Miss Flannery or anyone else
Judge Lady Dorrian
Edinburgh High Court

The victim, a postgraduate occupational therapy student, suffered extensive skull injuries and three fractured vertebrae in her spine. Her arms and legs were paralysed.

However, she has been making a good recovery and said she did not wish to see Smith go to jail for his crime.

Judge Lady Dorrian told Smith: "Your actions which led to such tragic consequences for Miss Flannery were stupid, thoughtless and show a degree of immaturity not to be expected in someone of your age.

"I take into account as has been so generously, but correctly, identified by Miss Flannery and her family that you did not act with the intention of causing harm to Miss Flannery or anyone else."

The judge praised Ms Flannery, saying: "She has shown great courage, fortitude and strength of character in the way she has dealt with her injuries.

"She and her parents have shown remarkable forgiveness and lack of rancour and I have nothing but admiration for the way in which they have conducted themselves."

Kate Flannery
Kate Flannery said she did not want Smith to be jailed

The judge said she had rejected making an order for Smith to pay compensation to his victim and added: "Nothing can adequately compensate her for what has happened."

Lady Dorrian said such an order would also reduce any award payable to Miss Flannery under the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

The judge said that in sharp contrast to his actions on the night of the tragedy Smith had "shown considerable maturity and responsibility" in handing himself in to the police when he realised what had occurred.

The court heard that Smith has been assessed as posing a low risk of harm and had previously been of good character.

Smith earlier admitted culpable and reckless conduct on 19 November by throwing the cone from George IV Bridge onto Merchant Street below.

Smith, of Buccleuch Terrace, in Edinburgh, has been in Scotland on a work visa.

Mr Anderson successfully argued for the judge not to make a deportation recommendation against Smith, who has residency in the UK until November.




SEE ALSO
Man pleads guilty to hurling cone
03 Jul 07 |  Edinburgh and East
Man in court over cone incident
21 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Spinal tests on bridge cone woman
20 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Falling road cone injures student
19 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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