Tragic cadet 'vindicated' as he is cleared over Air Corps crash
The family of a young Air Corps cadet who was killed in a training accident four years ago have welcomed a statement from the Justice Minister clearing him of any blame.
Donal and Liz Jevens were speaking after the State accepted liability in the death of their son David (22), who died in an Air Corps training crash on the Galway-Mayo border on October 12, 2009.
Mr Jevens had taken a personal injuries case against the Justice Minister Alan Shatter, the State and the Attorney General in relation to the death of his son.
The summons included 39 particulars of negligence, all of which were accepted by the defence parties, prior to the planned hearing at Galway Circuit Civil Court yesterday.
David Jevens (22) died alongside Capt Derek Furniss (32) when their PC-9 plane crashed in Cornamona, Co Galway, during a training accident.
An inquest into their deaths heard the cause of the crash was due to disorientation brought on by somatogravic illusion – akin to an optical illusion – during an emergency manoeuvre in deteriorating weather.
The family were awarded €25,395 in compensation with a further €11,140 to cover funeral costs. The special payment will be divided between Cdt Jevens's parents, Donal and Liz, who will receive €8,465 each, with €4,232.50 for each of his siblings, Sarah and Christopher, who has since enlisted with the Air Corps and is in training at Baldonnel in Dublin.
John Kiely (BL) said the State accepted full liability in the matter. A statement from Mr Shatter said that three separate investigations had been carried out into the accident – by the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport, a coroner's inquest and a military Court of Inquiry investigation.
"All of the investigations agree that Cadet Jevens bore no responsibility of any kind for the accident.
"The defendants have admitted liability in relation to this tragic accident. The Minister for Defence wishes to again reassure the parents and siblings of the late Cadet David Jevens that he was in no way remotely to blame for the dreadful tragedy that occurred that day," it added.
After the hearing, the family said they had not taken the decision to pursue a case lightly, adding that the statement on behalf of Mr Shatter fully exonerating David "meant a lot".
"We feel David has been vindicated and even though we knew all along that he had no part to play we're happy today that the minister on record has vindicated David," said his mother Liz.
"We're just so proud that David was part of the Air Corps and the Defence Forces, and we are so proud of the members of the Defence Forces today because we know the hard job they have to do."
Adding that they hoped no other parent would be put through such an ordeal, Mr Jevens said: "Most of all we feel for David that his life, dreams and future was taken from him at such an early age, when he had so much life still to live and so much to give to all who knew him, as the gentle caring person he was."