Friday 19 April 2019

Canadian police watchdog clears officer involved in fatal collision with Irishman

Brendan Keogh died four months after being hit by a police vehicle
Brendan Keogh died four months after being hit by a police vehicle Newsdesk Newsdesk

A CANADIAN police officer involved in a crash in which an Irish pedestrian was killed has been cleared of any wrongdoing by a police watchdog.

Brendan Keogh (29) passed away at Dublin's Mater Hospital.

Mr Keogh, who was originally from the village of  Mullinalaghta in Co Longford, was walking along the busy intersection of Highway 99 and Garibaldi Way in Squamish town in Vancouver, British Columbia at around 10.30pm local time on March 13 last year when he was struck by an on-duty officer with the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Services, who was driving an unmarked SUV.

Mr Keogh was cared for in Vancouver General Hospital, before being transferred to the Mater Hospital last summer. Sadly, he never regained consciousness and died in August.

The British Columbia police oversight agency has now said it will not be recommending charges against the officer.

“The evidence collected does not provide grounds to consider any charges against any officer,” Ronald MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office, said.

“I do not consider that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment and therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.”

His comments are reported in the Squamish Chief newspaper.

The report found that he officer was driving in the slow lane under the speed limit - and went through the intersection on a green light.

The officer hit the brakes before the collision, he said.

“There is nothing in the evidence collected that suggests [the officer] was driving in a manner that would appear to a reasonable person to be way dangerous or without proper care and attention,” Mr MacDonald wrote. “To the contrary, all the evidence shows she was driving as a reasonable driver would.”

Mr Keogh was sober, and Mr MacDonald suggested that the Irishman's vision may have been affected by the weather conditions.

"[He] made a tragic error when he crossed the highway, against the traffic signal, on a dark and rainy night, in dark clothing,” Mr MacDonald said.

“This placed him in front of [the officer’s] vehicle. The collision was unfortunately unavoidable.”

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