The driver of a car that crashed through the wall of a house, causing �30,000 worth of damage and leaving his passenger seriously injured, has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Patrick Martin O'Callaghan, (right) of Tullyeevin Road, Enniskillen, admitted causing grievous bodily injury to Shay Doherty by driving dangerously on the Crevenish Road in Kesh on July 2, 2011.

The 33-year-old sawmill worker was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for three years, and banned from driving for three years.

Prosecuting counsel Simon Reid told the court that on July 2, 2011, a man saw a blue Peugeot 407 with two men in it travelling at high speed along the Crevenish Road. It clipped a kerb and he heard a bang. Another witness was driving down the same road when she heard a car moving at high speed in a low gear and saw it reverse into the entrance to a house. It then overtook her at high speed. She was concerned about it getting stopped at the corner ahead of them and sounded her horn to warn the driver but there was no reaction from him. When she went around the corner she saw that the car had crashed through the wall of a private house.

Mr. Reid handed in photographs which he said, dramatically demonstrated the impact of the collision.

Stephen and Patricia Hey, the retired couple who own the 300-year-old Georgian house, were at home at the time.

Mr. Reid said Mrs. Hey heard the impact and came downstairs to find the lower floor of her home extensively damaged.

The couple had to move out of the house and spent three to six months living in a caravan while it was repaired at a cost of �30,000.

Mr. Reid said the passenger in the car, Mr. Doherty, stated that his memory of the crash was not clear. He said he and O'Callaghan had been drinking heavily the previous day. He recalled O'Callaghan and a woman picked him up but didn't know what became of the woman.

"He recalls very little beyond that," Mr. Reid told the court.

He said Doherty suffered a number of injuries, the most serious of which were fractures to his spine. His GP said he continued to suffer back pain for which he takes pain killers.

Mr. Reid said O'Callaghan was interviewed by police and claimed a large transit van had come around the corner on the wrong side of the road, causing him to swerve and crash. However, no-one else saw this vehicle and the prosecution's view was that this was a "complete fabrication".

He pointed out that O'Callaghan had a criminal record with nine previous convictions for offences including careless driving and not having insurance.

Defence barrister Gavin Cairns submitted that O'Callaghan had shown genuine and heartfelt remorse and regret to both the owners of the house and his friend Mr. Doherty.

He told the court that O'Callaghan suffered very serious injuries in the crash, spending nine days in Altnagelvin Hospital followed by five weeks in the Erne Hospital and five months confined to a wheelchair.

Judge Geoffrey Miller said the description of the manner of O'Callaghan's driving clearly indicated high speed and a disregard for the road conditions and people in the vicinity. The fact that the car crashed into the house "with such devastating effect" was further evidence of this, causing disruption to Mr. and Mrs. Hay and the upset of having to leave their home. O'Callaghan had driven through a built-up area "without regard to the welfare of others".

The judge said he had a report before him stating that this had been a "life-changing experience" for O'Callaghan. He had been off work for 10 months and was "still disabled to the degree of requiring crutches to walk with". He also suffered from anxiety and depression, which could persist for another 18 months.

He noted that Mr. Doherty lost his job as a result of his injuries.

The judge said he had read all the references and testimonials on O'Callaghan and accepted his remorse was genuine.