Saturday 21 October 2017

Father of man jailed for dangerous driving charged over attempt to impede prosecution

Machinery dealer Daniel Fitzgerald (71) appeared before Cork District Court charged in relation to the Garda investigation into the death of father of four Paudie O'Leary (42) at Scrahanfada outside Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry. Stock picture
Machinery dealer Daniel Fitzgerald (71) appeared before Cork District Court charged in relation to the Garda investigation into the death of father of four Paudie O'Leary (42) at Scrahanfada outside Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry. Stock picture
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

The elderly father of a man jailed for dangerous driving causing the death of a charity cyclist has been charged with attempting to impede a prosecution.

Machinery dealer Daniel Fitzgerald (71) appeared before Cork District Court charged in relation to the Garda investigation into the death of father of four Paudie O'Leary (42) at Scrahanfada outside Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry.

Mr O'Leary died after being struck while out cycling on July 1 2012.

Mr O'Leary had gone out for an early morning training spin on his bike that day in preparation for a charity cycle in aid of disabled children.

The vehicle which struck him, a Toyota Landcruiser driven by Shane Fitzgerald (23), did not stop at the scene.

Mr O'Leary's body was only found several hours later when his family went looking for him.

Shane Fitzgerald, the son of Daniel Fitzgerald, was jailed for six and a half years after being convicted before the Circuit Criminal Court in 2015 of dangerous driving causing death.

Gardai never recovered the Toyota jeep Shane Fitzgerald was driving that day.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell, in jailing Shane Fitzgerald last year, said the impact “blew Mr O’Leary off the road."

Now, his father, Daniel Fitzgerald of Knockeen, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork has been charged before Cork District Court with attempting to impede a Garda prosecution.

Mr Fitzgerald, who did not speak during the brief hearing, was remanded on bail in his own bond of Euro 500 to appear again before Cork District Court on December 15 next.

He is charged that, contrary to Section 7 (2) and (4) of the Criminal Justice Amendment Act, 2009, he "knowing or believing that the said person (Shane Fitzgerald) to be guilty of the said offence (dangerous driving causing death) or some other arrestable offence did without reasonable excuse act with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of the said person."

The allegation refers to places unknown between July 1 and 13 2012.

The charge also refers to Shane Fitzgerald and his conviction for dangerous driving causing death.

Defence solicitor, Shane Collins Daly, told Judge Leo Malone his client was applying for free legal aid in relation to the matter.

He said his client was a 71-year-old pensioner and was submitting a statement of means.

However, Det Supt Fergal Foley said Gardai believed Mr Fitzgerald had an income until relatively recently.

"He (was) engaged in importing machinery from the UK and then selling it," he said.

Judge Malone queried whether Mr Fitzgerald was engaged in that activity at any recent time?

"He was recently," Det Supt Foley said.

Judge Malone said he was reserving the court position on free legal aid until Gardai made a full inquiry in the means and assets of Mr Fitzgerald.

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