A woman accused of careless driving causing serious bodily harm to another motorist was found not guilty at the end of a four-day trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The defendant, Sheila Neenan, aged 34, of Tullaha, Broadford, Charleville, Co Cork, faced the single charge that on August 21, 2017, at Carr’s Hill, Douglas, Cork, she drove carelessly, causing serious bodily harm to another motorist, Seán Pierse.
After almost four hours of deliberation, the jury of five women and seven men found her not guilty of the offence. There was no other charge against her.
A more serious charge of dangerous driving causing serious harm was replaced by Judge James McCourt during the trial with the lesser charge of careless driving causing serious harm, following a legal submission from defence senior counsel, Elizabeth O’Connell. Ultimately, that was the charge which was put to the jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and they found her not guilty shortly after noon yesterday. The defendant wept as the verdict was delivered.
Judge McCourt thanked the jury for their attention to the case. He also thanked Donal McCarthy, for the prosecution, and Ms O’Connell, for the defence, for the manner in which they presented the case to the court.
“They are always different to how they seem at first glance,” commented Judge McCourt.
The collision that gave rise to the case occurred between cars driven by Ms Neenan and Mr Pierse, who were both driving to work from opposite directions at Carr’s Hill early on the morning of August 21 2017. Mr Pierse testified he had no memory of the accident occurring.
At the outset of the trial, Mr McCarthy said it would be alleged by the prosecution, “That the accused crossed to the incorrect side of the road and struck Mr Pierse’s car, which was an oncoming car.”
Ms O’Connell presented the defence position on behalf of Ms Neenan, saying, “She was driving on her own side of the road and the next thing she knows is a sudden collision coming from her right-hand side.”