Tuesday 26 March 2019

Garda whose driving caused elderly woman's death has sentence deferred

Garda Warren Farrell said he was driving to an incident. Photo: Collins Courts
Garda Warren Farrell said he was driving to an incident. Photo: Collins Courts

Declan Brennan

A garda whose careless driving caused the death of a 75-year-old pedestrian had a nine-month prison sentence deferred on condition he pay a fine of €2,000 and €5,000 to charity.

Warren Farrell (33), a garda serving in Ballyfermot, was driving a marked patrol car in response to an incident at a Topaz garage when his vehicle hit Elizabeth Core.

A family member told the Irish Independent she would always be missed.

Her son Thomas Core described her as "a singer and a dancer" and "the life and soul of family gatherings".

Gda Farrell had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Ms Core at Fonthill Road South, Dublin, on August 28, 2014.

A jury convicted him by majority verdict on an alternative charge of careless driving causing death. Judge Cormac Quinn had advised the jurors they could convict on this alternative charge.

Yesterday Judge Quinn said the degree of Farrell's culpability was in the lower range. He said the aggravating factor was speed. Gda Farrell had said he believed Ms Core would see or hear the patrol car and return to her side of the road. He said he was surprised she continued to cross, so immediately applied brakes and entered the bus lane.

Gda Farrell said he attempted to mount the footpath on his left but was unable to do so and the left tyre burst.

James Butler, an investigator with Garda watchdog Gsoc, told the court that Gda Farrell told investigators he had been satisfied before collision that his car's blue flashing lights and sirens would have alerted Ms Core.

Some civilians testified that the siren or blue lights were not on before the crash.

Forensic investigators put the car's speed at impact, following heavy braking, at between 50kmh to 56kmh. The speed limit was 50kmh.

Judge Quinn said there was a tension between the duty of gardaí to respond to calls quickly and not to endanger the public. He said there was evidence Gda Farrell experienced a "violation of expectancy" where he had expected Ms Core to stop crossing.

Irish Independent

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