Monday 16 September 2019

Hit-and-run driver avoids jail term over death of cyclist

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

THE grief-stricken family of a young cyclist killed in a hit and run have spoken out in disbelief after the motorist who struck him walked free from court.

Lithuanian national Zigimantas Gridzuiska (39), of Ardross Avenue, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, was given no jail sentence but instead was ordered to leave the jurisdiction after the trial judge described him as a "massive liability" who "offers nothing to the community".

Gridzuiska – who has 42 previous convictions for theft, burglary and motoring offences in three different jurisdictions – was found not guilty of dangerous driving causing death at the trial.

Earlier this month, Judge Patrick McCartan directed a jury to find him not guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of Shane O'Farrell after telling them there was no evidence to support the charge.

Gridzuiska had pleaded guilty to failing to stop his car at the scene of the accident, failing to keep the car near the scene of this accident and failing to report this accident as soon as possible to gardai.

Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to an additional charge of driving a vehicle in a dangerously defective condition on August 2, 2011, due to the condition of the steering.

Judge McCartan described the death of Mr O'Farrell on a summer's night over two years ago as a tragic accident which occurred because the deceased had not properly lit himself or his bike.

Trainee barrister Shane O'Farrell (23), of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, died instantly after being struck by Gridzuiska's vehicle on the N2 between Carrickmacross and Castleblaney.

Judge McCartan said Gridzuiska couldn't have been in any doubt that he had struck a person.

After the judge had left the court room yesterday, Shane O'Farrell's mother shouted at the guilty man: "You murdered my son. There is no justice."

Gridzuiska's barrister told Judge McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that his client "had not intended to remain in this jurisdiction" since his son had already returned to Lithuania.

Afterwards, the dead man's mother Lucia O'Farrell said: "To lose a child is not a bereavement – it's an apocalypse."

Irish Independent

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