Thursday 19 September 2019

Garda is found guilty of careless driving causing the death of woman (75)

On duty: Garda Warren Farrell was responding to a panic button call. Photo: Collins Courts
On duty: Garda Warren Farrell was responding to a panic button call. Photo: Collins Courts

Declan Brennan

A serving garda has been convicted of careless driving causing the death of an elderly pedestrian.

Warren Farrell (35), who was serving in Clondalkin, Dublin, was on duty as the driver of a marked patrol car that was responding to a panic button call at a Topaz garage when the car struck Elizabeth Core.

He had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of the 75-year-old as she crossed the Fonthill Road South, Dublin, on August 28, 2014.

On Monday, Judge Cormac Quinn had advised jurors they could convict Gda Farrell on a charge of dangerous driving causing death or of careless driving causing death.

Yesterday afternoon, after around four hours of deliberations, the jury returned a majority verdict, finding him guilty of careless driving.

Earlier Judge Quinn told the jury that careless driving could be described as driving that falls below the standard of care and attention expected of a reasonably competent driver, creating a risk of harm to others.

The defendant exhaled heavily and hung his head briefly after hearing the verdict.

Judge Quinn remanded him on continuing bail to February 22 for sentence.

James Dwyer SC, prosecuting, had asked the court to give the prosecution time to prepare victim impact statements.

Members of the Core family were present in court throughout the trial.

Judge Quinn thanked the jurors for their service in what he said was a difficult case. He extended his sympathy to the Core family.

In his closing speech on Monday, Mr Dwyer had told the jury that Gda Farrell made an assumption that Mrs Core was aware of the garda patrol car which the State contend was travelling at around 56-58kmh at the point of impact on a road with a 50kmh speed limit.

He said this was an assumption he couldn't make, citing that the Garda's 'Response Driving Course manual' states: "It must never be assumed that the sounding instrument will be heard by other road users and pedestrians."

The jury heard there was conflict in the witness accounts as to whether the siren was active when the patrol car was on the Fonthill Road.

Irish Independent

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