A debit card belonging to a 72-year-old man who denies impeding the prosecution of his son for a fatal hit- and-run was used to pay for his son’s flight to Australia following the incident, a jury was told yesterday.
The prosecution in the case called several witnesses from travel companies who stated that the credit card used to pay for various travel expenses was owned by the accused.
Daniel ‘Dan Joe’ Fitzgerald, of Knockeen, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork, is on trial for a second day at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
He faces a charge that he impeded the apprehension or prosecution of Shane Fitzgerald who had committed an arrestable offence of dangerous driving causing the death of Paudie O’Leary on July 1, 2012, at Scrahanafadda, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry. His son had been convicted in 2015 of the offence.
Shane Fitzgerald, it emerged, was booked to travel with a car with Irish Ferries at 4.13am on July 2, 2012, and the €179 fare was paid for by a debit card registered to his father.
In opening the prosecution case against Daniel Fitzgerald on Monday, barrister Siobhan Lankford had said the prosecution case was that Shane Fitzgerald’s ferry fare to the UK, his subsequent application for a visa to Australia, and his air fare to Australia were all paid for with his father’s card.
Yesterday, witness Declan Moynihan, Irish Ferries’ marketing systems manager, testified a booking was made for Shane Fitzgerald and a car at 4.13 am on July 2, 2012, on the Irish Ferries ferry from Dublin to Liverpool. He checked in at 6am.
The fare was paid using an AIB debit card which was registered to the accused, Dan Joe Fitzgerald, Mr Moynihan said.
The witness told defence counsel, John Phelan SC, that he did not know who made the payment with the card as the booking was done online.
Josephine Jones of AIB Bank told the court the debit card was linked to a bank account at the AIB Bank in Newmarket belonging to Dan Joe Fitzgerald and that it was the only card attached to the account and that a payment of €179 showed on that account on July 5, 2012.
Witness Hana Hlochova of travel firm Visa First told the court they were contacted at 11.04pm on July 3, 2012, and again at 11.28pm on July 3 by Shane Fitzgerald by email to organise a work holiday visa in Australia and other matters including an Australian bank account, tax number, and SIM card.
They organised the matters and they notified Shane Fitzgerald by email and he later contacted them by phone on July 5 to give them credit card details and the €573 fee was subsequently paid using an AIB Laser card registered to a Daniel Fitzgerald, she told the court.
Manager with World Wide Flights, Karim Kassali, told the court the company arranged a one-way flight from Heathrow to Perth in the name of Shane Fitzgerald on July 12, 2012, and that the £797 ticket was registered as being bought by Daniel Fitzgerald as his Laser card was used to buy it.
The prosecution put forward detailed evidence of phonecalls between the defendant and his son in the days between the accident and his arrival in the UK.
Defence barrister Ray Boland said the total amount of conversation time by phone between the father and son in that period totalled 29 seconds.
There was legal argument in the absence of the jury yesterday afternoon. The case will resume before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin and the jury today.
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