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Thursday 19 October 2017

Farmer accused of causing death of own father in crash faces retrial after hung jury

The scene of the collision on the A4 dual carriageway on June 25, 2014. Phelim Brady was killed after he was thrown from a tractor on to the road
The scene of the collision on the A4 dual carriageway on June 25, 2014. Phelim Brady was killed after he was thrown from a tractor on to the road
(stock photo)

Staff Reporter

A retrail will be held in the case of a man accused of causing the death of his father, who was killed in a collision between a tractor towing a trailer and a HGV lorry.

While the case concluded last week, the jury was hung in relation to the son, although a co-accused was convicted.

Reporting restrictions were imposed while the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) considered its position. The case returned to court with a decision to retry and the restrictions were lifted.

Phelim Brady died on June 25, 2014 following a crash on the A4 dual carriageway near Dungannon. He had been travelling on the draw bar attaching a tractor to a trailer loaded with cattle.

His son Paul Alexander Brady (46) of Minterburn Road, Caledon, was driving the tractor. It later emerged he was disqualified and did not have insurance.

A lorry crashed into the tractor and trailer. Mr Brady was flung from the draw bar onto the road. He died instantly.

His son sustained injuries and was treated in hospital. However, on being discharged he was arrested and was eventually charged with dangerous driving causing death, and causing his father's death by being a disqualified and uninsured driver.

Co-accused, William Mark Murphy (53), of Prospect Road, Castlewellan, was driving the lorry that crashed into the tractor and trailer. He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, but this was rejected by the prosecution, who considered the manner of his driving had been dangerous.

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Both men sat side-by-side in the dock throughout the trial at Dungannon Crown Court, which lasted just over a week.

As matters progressed, the prosecution offered alternative charges in respect of Mr Brady, including careless driving causing death and dangerous driving. It argued the case against Mr Brady hinged on their contention that it was dangerous to permit his father to travel on the draw bar.

This was refuted by the defence, who stated this was not a matter for their client, but rather his father had taken the decision to travel on the draw bar, and this in itself did not cause the collision.

Mr Brady accepted from the outset being disqualified and having no insurance but contended his father had asked him to take cattle to the market that day. He said he reminded his father of the disqualification, to which Mr Brady snr replied: "It'll be all right this one time."

The tragic circumstances unfolded as Mr Brady jnr pulled out at a junction onto the dual carriageway and the lorry ploughed into the rear.

The jury retired on June 28 with a list of potential charges to consider applicable to Mr Brady, and to deliberate on whether Mr Murphy's driving reached the threshold of dangerous.

They returned a unanimous verdict in relation to Mr Murphy only, finding him guilty of causing death by careless driving, which he had already admitted.

He was remanded on continuing bail to return for sentencing on August 3. However, the jury was hung in respect of all charges against Mr Brady.

The case returned to court yesterday, where prosecuting counsel advised he had been instructed to seek a retrial.

Judge Fowler adjourned the case for a date to be identified, which is likely to be October or November.

Mr Brady was remanded on continuing bail.


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