THE High Court has granted bail to a 29-year-old man wanted in Australia on charges of dangerous driving and causing the deaths of two Irish backpackers near the city of Perth.
The Australian authorities are seeking the extradition of Eamon Mark Driver, with an address at Stanley Heights, Slane, Co Meath, on charges of causing the deaths of Colm Reilly (20), from Slane, Co Meath, and Kiara Duncan (20), from Kentstown, Co Meath, by dangerous driving in 2007.
Mr Driver, a single man currently on disability, is alleged to have been the driver of a Toyota Corolla with six people inside. It is claimed that the car was involved in a fatal crash around 11.10pm on October 31, 2007 at Bedford -- a suburb of Perth in Western Australia.
Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice John Edwards granted Mr Driver bail "on stringent conditions". These include a surety of €75,000, that he sign twice a week with the Gardai, reside at his home address, not leave the jurisdiction, and be of good behaviour.
The bond was set after the Judge was told Mr Driver expected to receive "a six-figure payment" as compensation for injuries he sustained in a separate road traffic accident in 2009.
The Gardai had expressed their concerns about granting Mr Driver bail.
Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan of the Garda Extradition Unit said that "from the beginning", Mr Driver's attitude towards the charges he faces has been "one of evasion".
He said Mr Driver left Australia shortly after the accident and had been living openly in Ireland since his return.
The detective said Australian authorities claim that in 2009, Mr Driver was in contact with them and had indicated he intended to return, but did not do so.
A warrant seeking Mr Driver's arrest was issued by the Australian Attorney General's office after Mr Driver failed to appear in Perth Magistrate's Court to face charges.
It alleges he lost control of the car at a bend and careered across the the middle of the road and ploughed into an oncoming vehicle.
It is further alleged he had been travelling at excess speed.
The matter was adjourned to October.