Sunday 22 October 2017

Mum whose child died in crash cleared of dangerous driving charge

Melissa Delaney pictured at Cork Circuit Court. Pic Cork Courts Limited
Melissa Delaney pictured at Cork Circuit Court. Pic Cork Courts Limited
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A PREGNANT mother was acquitted of dangerous driving causing death after a horrific crash in which her four-year-old daughter was catapulted from her overturned vehicle.

Melissa Delaney (24) bowed her head as a jury found her not guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of her eldest child, Kathleen O'Brien (4), two years ago.

She is expecting her third child, a baby girl, in April.

A Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury of eight men and four woman in found her not guilty, on the direction of Judge Donagh McDonagh, on the second day of her trial.

Judge McDonagh ruled, after legal argument, that it would be unsafe to allow the case continue and directed that Ms Delaney be found not guilty.

Delaney - of Radharc na Fia, Convent Road, Doneraile, Co Cork - had denied a single charge of dangerous driving causing the death of her daughter at Kilmona, Blarney on the Cork-Mallow Road on July 13, 2013.

The young mother was too upset to comment after the case.

Her solicitor, Kevin Hegarty, said it had been a traumatic ordeal for both her and her entire family.

"Life has become very difficult for her. She finds it very hard to function," he said.

"Now that the case is concluded she and her husband hope they can rebuild their lives in some shape and that this can be a new beginning for them."

She is expecting a baby girl in early April. The couple have another daughter, Mary Margaret (3).

Barrister Don McCarthy, for the State, in outlining the case, said the fatal incident occurred shortly after 4pm that Saturday afternoon. The tragedy occurred at the Grenagh junction on the main Cork-Limerick road and involved a van being driven by Ms Delaney.

Overturned

The vehicle contained her husband and their two young daughters.

Mr McCarthy said it was the State's case that the van was being driven at speed and, as it suddenly manoeuvred around a vehicle that was turning left, it mounted a roadside bank and overturned.

Witness Donal McCarthy said he saw the van collide with the roadside verge.

"It turned over. There was something thrown from the van. Something just flew right out of the van," he said.

"I fairly quickly realised that it was a child. I got out of the car and I just froze."

Irish Independent

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