Wednesday 25 April 2018

No evidence defendant was behind the wheel in crash

A man whom Gardai allege ran away from the scene of a crash at the gates of St Patrick's Cemetery on the Newry Road has been found not guilty of all charges after his barrister successfully argued there was no evidence that he was actually behind the wheel.

Ciaran Murphy, (20), Finnegan's Road, Jonesboro, had pleaded not guilty to summonses including hit and run, no insurance and drink driving which arose out of an alleged incident at Dowdallshill on December 14 2014.

A woman who lives at Dowdallshill told Judge Flann Brennan how, at around 11.30pm, she was watching TV when she 'heard a bang' and went outside to see a red car with a young man 'lying on the air bag'.

She said: 'I thought he was severely injured or even dead and I rang the Gardai. But he got out of the car, got his jacket out of the back seat and jumped the railings of the graveyard. I could see a person running'.

She said she didn't know him and didn't get a good look at him because it was dark.

Gardai said they received the call about the crash and found a red Toyota Avensis crashed into the gates of the graveyard. A number of witnesses said they had seen a man head into the graveyard from the car and Gardai found Murphy around half an hour after the crash.

Gardai alleged he was unsteady on his feet and smelled drink off his breath and Murphy was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. He was initially brought to Dundalk garda station and an ambulance was called shortly after his arrival.

He was taken to hospital in Drogheda where a blood sample was taken. The car was later searched and nothing was found.

Barrister Martin Dully said there was 'a fundamental problem with the prosecution case' as Agnew had not been identified by anyone as the driver of the car. Judge Brennan agreed, saying there was no clear evidence that he was the driver and dismissed all the charges.

Irish Independent