Paralyzed woman offers foregiveness

July 26, 2007 at 2:44 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 26 (UPI) -- A man avoided a jail term in Scotland because the woman left paralyzed when hit by a traffic cone he tossed from a bridge offered her forgiveness in court.

Instead of incarceration, Andrew Smith, 30, of Australia is to perform 180 hours of community service, The Scotsman reported Wednesday.

The woman he injured, Kate Flannery, 24, suffered a broken skull and three fractured vertebrae when injured while chatting with friends outside a pub last November. She is recovering but is expected to have weakness in one or more limbs the remainder of her life.

But the postgraduate occupational therapy student from Ireland told Edinburgh High Court she bore no ill will toward Smith and didn't want to see him go to jail. Judge Lady Dorrian responded by saying Smith, who had been drunk at the time of the accident, had been "stupid, thoughtless and showed a degree of immaturity not to be expected of someone of his age." But she noted there had been no intent to harm anyone.

Dorrian said she had "nothing but admiration" for Flannery.

"She has shown great courage, fortitude and strength of character in the way she has dealt with her injuries," she said.

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