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Man accused of harmful driving after motorcyclist loses leg is acquitted

A person accused of harmful driving following an accident during which a motorcyclist misplaced his leg has been discovered not responsible by course of the trial decide.

Ballyshannon resident David Lecky, 55, was left with life-altering accidents following the crash exterior Carrigans in August, 2016.

Levi Morrison, a 29-year-old mechanic from Derry went on trial at Letterkenny Circuit Courtroom this week in reference to the incident.

He pleaded not responsible to a cost of harmful driving inflicting severe bodily hurt to Mr Lecky at Dunmore, Carrigans, on August 17, 2016 however pleaded responsible to costs of driving with out insurance coverage and of failing to supply insurance coverage on the identical day.

Over the course of two days, proof was heard concerning the occasions main as much as the incident and the following investigation carried out by Gardai into the crash.

In addition to civilian witnesses on the scene, proof was heard from Gardai which instructed that Morrison had been dashing on the time of the crash.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of the third day of the trial, Morrison’s barrister, Mr Colm Smyth, SC, requested for a course within the case.

His software to Choose Aylmer, within the absence of the jury, instructed that the proof was so tenuous that it couldn’t attain a normal of proof past an inexpensive doubt {that a} jury may convict the accused of harmful driving.

Choose Aylmer thought of the applying and agreed that the proof didn’t attain a normal that was secure to the put to a jury.

He recalled the jury of eight males and 4 girls to elucidate his determination.

He mentioned that the proof was so tenuous and so skinny that no jury charged by the decide and understanding the usual of proof past an inexpensive doubt may ever convict the accused of harmful driving or careless driving for that matter.

He added that the one proof of velocity was from one witness who had a momentary flash or glimpse of Mr Morrison’s automobile coming in direction of him and that it will be unsafe to permit the jury to entertain that chance.

He concluded what he now needed to do was to provide the jury a course to acquit on the course of a trial decide to search out Mr Morrison not responsible by course of a trial decide.

The accused, of Tudor Courtroom, Rosemount, Derry who had no earlier convictions of any type, had beforehand pleaded responsible to not having insurance coverage and never producing insurance coverage for the automobile.

Choose Aylmer thought of the proof and mentioned that as this was a primary offence and that Morrison wanted his license for work as a mechanic he wouldn’t disqualify him however fined him €500 for having no insurance coverage.

In the course of the trial the courtroom was instructed that Morrison was driving an Audi A4, which he had bought the day past, when he collided with the Suzuki bike being pushed by Mr Lecky. Morrison was driving the automobile from Derry to Carrigans as there was a ‘downside with it’.

Ms Fiona Crawford BL opened the case on behalf of the prosecution on Wednesday.

Garda Sergeant Gerry McCauley, a forensic collision investigator, gave proof of attending the scene of the accident, which was a distance of round 1.4km from Carrigans village. Maps and pictures displaying the scene got to the jury.

The courtroom heard that the bike got here to a relaxation on a grass verge following a head-on collision with a automobile.
Mr Lecky, aged 55 and of Ashbrooke Drive in Ballyshannon, instructed the trial that he has ‘no reminiscence in anyway of the collision’.

Mr Lecky mentioned he has a ‘obscure reminiscence’ of leaving his dwelling and taking his bike as his automobile was with a mechanic on the time.

“I keep in mind going out the again door, however I’ve no reminiscence of even getting onto the bike,” he mentioned,

His first reminiscence after waking from a coma in Galway Hospital was of with the ability to transfer his left arm ‘a wee bit’ however was unable to maneuver anything.

“The abiding reminiscence is of the nursing workers coming round and placing a clip on my finger to take blood strain,” Mr Lecky mentioned. “I keep in mind pondering it was a bit spiteful to place it on the one a part of my physique that I may transfer.”

Mr Lecky had his left leg amputated from the knee down in early 2017 described himself as ‘functionally a full-time wheelchair consumer’.

Witness Mr Aidan Donoghue, instructed the trial that he was working within the Donegal space and stayed in Ballybofey the earlier night time. He was touring from the Inishleigh Co-Op to Donegal Meats in Carrigans. Mr Donoghue was driving a Mitsubishi Outlander and recalled how he was conscious of a motorcyclist behind him. As he turned proper for the meat manufacturing facility, Mr Donoghue mentioned he was nonetheless conscious of the motorcyclist behind him and instructed the trial that he bought the ‘impression’ of a automobile coming from the Derry course at a excessive velocity.

He recalled how he heard a bang after he turned down the street earlier than returning to see {that a} collision occurred between a bike and a automobile. Mr Donoghue telephoned the emergency providers and remained on the scene.

Morrison was represented within the case by Mr Colm Smyth SC and Mr Peter Nolan BL, instructed by solicitor Kieran O’Gorman.

Mr David Kelly, a good friend of Morrison’s, was driving behind the accused man in a Transit van. Mr Kelly instructed Gardai that he was conscious Morrison was taking the automobile again to Carrigans because it was overheating.

“I’m not certain of the velocity, however he wasn’t dashing,” Mr Kelly mentioned in an announcement learn to the courtroom by Ms Crawford. Mr Kelly recalled how Morrison needed to ‘shoot to the flawed aspect of the street’ to keep away from colliding with a silver automobile that was making a proper flip. Mr Kelly recalled seeing ‘a giant spray of automobile elements within the air’.

Mr Kelly instructed how he bought out of his automobile and noticed Mr Lecky on the street.

“I don’t suppose Levi may have finished something to keep away from the crash.”

Ms Linda Callaghan got here on the scene whereas she was making her manner dwelling to Killea. She recalled seeing a wheel spinning on the bike and Mr Lecky on the bottom.

Noting that Mr Lecky was sporting a marriage ring, Ms Callaghan obtained a telephone quantity from the injured man. Initially, Ms Callaghan feared that Mr Lecky was lifeless earlier than she went over and knelt down beside him on the street.

Retired Garda Joseph McDonagh instructed the trial that he acquired a report of an accident shortly earlier than 10am. When he arrived on the scene, there have been different Gardai and numerous different individuals current.

“The affect appeared very extreme,” Mr McDonagh mentioned. “The bike was utterly twisted.”

Mr McDonagh instructed the courtroom that Morrison knowledgeable him on the scene that he wasn’t insured. Mr McDonagh retired from An Garda Siochana in October 2016 and his recordsdata had been handed over to a different member.

Garda Damian Mulkearns, a PSV inspector with the Donegal Garda Division, gave proof of inspecting the Audi A4 and the Suzuki bike in August 2016.

There was heavy frontal harm to the Audi A4, with the bumper, radiator, bonnet, windscreen and roof smashed and each headlight assemblies had been out of line.

The steering, suspension and braking techniques had been all in a serviceable situation pre-accident. Each airbags had been deployed and there was proof to point {that a} seatbelt was being worn by the motive force on the time of affect.

Garda Mulkearns famous that the motive force’s aspect rear tyre was ‘excessively worn’. Two tyres on the automobile had been stretched over the edges and Garda Mullkearns mentioned there was an ‘imbalance’ within the tyres fitted to the automobile.

In relation to the tyres stretched over the larger-diameter rim, Garda Mulkearns mentioned this could put ‘added stresses’ on the power of the tyre however didn’t essentially scale back the extent of grip the tyre has.

Total, he mentioned, the Audi A4 was in a serviceable situation pre-accident.

The Suzuki bike was additionally closely broken. The entrance forks, brake disc, headlight, exhaust, gasoline tank, deal with bars and seat had been all broken.

The steering, suspension and braking techniques had been all in a serviceable situation whereas the edges and tyres had been additionally in a great situation pre-accident.

Morrison instructed Gardai that he purchased a automobile, paying 1500stg for it the day earlier than hand. When he seen that the automobile was overheating, he determined to return to the vendor. Morrison mentioned he supposed to insure the automobile however, as a result of overheating challenge, didn’t.

Morrison estimated that he was travelling about 50 miles per hour.

“After I first noticed the silver automobile, it was about 100 yards away. As I approached, he turned to the appropriate and minimize me off. I swerved to the appropriate to avoiding hitting him. I didn’t see the bike in any respect till I hit it. I used to be solely conscious that I hit a motorbike, however I noticed nothing else till I bought out of the automobile. I didn’t know what to do. I used to be in shock. I noticed the biker on the street.

“David tended to the biker. I stood there in shock. I keep in mind David shouting to ask if anybody knew CPR.

“I’m conscious that there was an allegation of dashing made towards me. I used to be not dashing. I drove usually inside the velocity restrict.

In one other assertion, given to Gardai in October 2017, Morrison mentioned he believed that the silver jeep was ‘stopped for a great very long time’ earlier than it ‘immediately, with out warning, crossed in entrance of me’ and he ‘took rapid avoidance motion’.

Garda Sergeant Gerry McCauley, a forensic collision investigator, mentioned the collision occurred within the northbound lane of the R236, which is ruled by a velocity restrict of 80km/h.

The street floor was ‘superb, albeit moist’, when Sergeant McCauley arrived.

It was not potential to find out the place the purpose of affect was on the date of the accident.

On inspection, Sergeant McCauley famous recent tyre makes on the central white line, ranging in distance from 14.4m away from the mouth of the junction to 48.8m.

There was no foundation for suggesting that these tyre marks had been from the Audi A4, the courtroom was instructed.

Sergeant McCauley mentioned he considered CCTV from a home on the street, 89m again from the accident. Having chosen two factors, one a big tree and the opposite a backyard wall, and noting the velocity of the system at 12 frames per second, he got here to an estimation that the Audi A4 moved 27.7 metres per second – which labored out at 99.88km/h by his calculations. Sergeant McCauley mentioned he added a ten per cent margin of error.

He mentioned this was not the velocity of the automobile on the junction and the automobile ‘may have slowed down’.

“We are able to’t deduce from the harm that both automobile was travelling exterior of the velocity restrict,” Sergeant McCauley mentioned.

Mr Colm Smyth SC requested Sergeant McCauley if it was true that no-one may say what velocity precisely the Audi A4 was travelling at and he agreed. “He was coming right into a bend, so he may have eased up,” Sergeant McCauley mentioned.

Mr Smyth mentioned there was an ‘monumental unknown’ between the CCTV imagery and the precise incident.

After the decide’s determination to acquit, the courtroom was instructed that there was additionally a civil facet being pursued in a separate courtroom.

On the finish of the trial, Mr Morrison approached Mr Lecky and the boys shook palms.

Man accused of harmful driving after motorcyclist loses leg is acquitted was final modified: October twenty first, 2023 by Workers Author