The DPP turned down a mother’s appeal to prosecute a teenage driver alleged to have been under the influence of cannabis when his car collided with and killed her “precious” 11-year-old daughter, a judge heard.
Barrister Noel Cosgrove told the Circuit Civil Court that Cait Quinn was struck by a car driven by then 19-year-old Ronan Byrne of Lohunda Downs, Clonsilla, Dublin, and suffered catastrophic injuries.
He said Cait had been crossing the road from a bus stop at Diswellstown Road, Castleknock, Dublin, on Aug 25, 2009, when struck by Byrne’s Nissan Pulsar car which he had been driving on a provisional licence.
Mr Cosgrove told Judge Gerard Griffin that Cait’s mother, Catriona Quinn, of Luttrellstown Walk, Castleknock, wished to read a brief tribute to her daughter from the witness box. In it, she said Cait was the very precious only daughter in the Quinn family of four and she and her husband, Paul, had almost lost her twice as a baby.
“She was the love and joy of home and family and shone in all activities, musical, artistic and clever, and a helpful and generous daughter.”
They would never forget her beautiful warm smile and would treasure the 11 years 11 months and four days of her short precious life, she said.
“We will continue to miss her every second of every day for the rest of our lives,” Mrs Quinn added.
Mr Cosgrove told the court Ronan Byrne, now aged 23, had been driving on a provisional licence at excessive speed and while under the influence of cannabis at the time.
“Regrettably there was no criminal prosecution of Mr Byrne which had created a difficulty for the parents,” said Mr Cosgrove. “Mrs Quinn had asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to review his decision but was unsuccessful.”
The court heard that due to the positioning of the bus stop, Dublin Bus had been sued, along with Mr Byrne, as a defendant but had been indemnified by Mr Byrne’s insurance company, Quinn Direct, and let out of the proceedings.
Mr Cosgrove said Mr Byrne’s insurance company, without conceding liability in the case, had proffered a figure of €30,000 to cover some element of grief and loss and funeral expenses and he was recommending acceptance of the offer to the court.
Judge Griffin told Mrs Quinn it must have been very painful for her to read the tribute to her daughter. He offered the Quinn family his and the court’s sincere condolences.
He said that while there would never be full closure for the family the finalisation of the proceedings gave some sense of closure. He had no hesitation in accepting and approving the €30,000 offer.
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