Farm Ireland

Monday 17 December 2018

Tractor driver must live with memory of father's death: judge

The aftermath of the collision between the lorry and tractor in Dungannon. Image: Belfast Telegraph
The aftermath of the collision between the lorry and tractor in Dungannon. Image: Belfast Telegraph Newsdesk Newsdesk

A judge has said a man "must live with the consequences and memories" of a traffic collision in which his father was killed.

Judge Stephen Fowler QC made the comment at Dungannon Crown Court last week as he sentenced Paul Alexander Brady (47) of Minterburn Road in Caledon, Co Tyrone for driving while disqualified and without insurance.

He had admitted the offences and had already been cleared of involvement in causing his father Phelim's death.

Mr Brady Snr had been standing on the draw-bar between a tractor and trailer driven by his son on June 25, 2014.

As they emerged from a junction onto the A4 dual carriageway in Dungannon, the tractor and trailer were "slammed" from behind by a lorry. Mr Brady Snr landed on the road and died instantly. He was 69.

The lorry was driven by William Mark Murphy (53) of Prospect Road, Castlewellan, who later stood trial for causing death by dangerous driving, but was convicted of the lesser charge of death by careless driving.

He was given a sentence of four months suspended for three years and disqualified from driving for three years.

Brady was also thrown from the tractor cabin during the collision and sustained serious injuries.

He would later be charged with causing his father's death by dangerous driving and stood trial along with Murphy.

Brady faced trial twice, as the prosecution argued that by driving his father while disqualified he was a contributing factor in the fatality.

A jury recently unanimously cleared Brady of any responsibility. But the case was adjourned as sentencing still had to be passed on the admitted matters.

Urging the court to show leniency, Brady's lawyer said: "This is not a case of the classic boy racer. Instead, Mr Brady drove at the behest of his father, which he now sorely regrets for many reasons."

Judge Fowler highlighted the seriousness of driving while disqualified, but acknowledged the tragic nature of the case.

He said: "It is clear the defendant's father prevailed upon him to drive and put a degree of pressure on him to take the cattle to market. Unfortunately, Mr Brady gave in and drove, with the tragic consequences. There was nothing at all in his driving which caused his father's death."

Imposing a sentence of one month's custody suspended for 12 months, Judge Fowler concluded: "Mr Brady has to live with the terrible consequences and memories of that day."

A driving disqualification of 12 months was also handed down.

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