Defence Minister Alan Shatter expressed “sincere regret” for the tragic events that led to the death of a trainee Air Corps pilot on a flight training mission in 2009, during a civil action taken by the father of the deceased.
Cadet David Jevens, aged 21, of Glynn, Co Wexford, along with his flight instructor, Capt Derek Furniss, aged 32, from Rathfarnham, Dublin, died when their F265 Pilatus PC-9(M) training plane crashed near Cornamona, Co Galway, on October 12, 2009.
Donal Jevens, David’s father, had sued the minister for defence and the attorney general following his death.
At Galway Circuit Civil Court yesterday, Conor Roberts, counsel for the plaintiff, told Judge Raymond Fullam the defendants had accepted liability and there was permission for judgment for his client for the maximum amount of €25,395.
John Kiely, counsel for Mr Shatter, read a statement from the minister which expressed his “sincere regret” for what happened.
It stated three separate investigations into this tragic accident by the Air Accident Investigation Unit, a coroner’s inquest, and a military court of inquiry, had all agreed Cadet Jevens “bore no responsibility of any kind” for the accident.
“The defendants have admitted liability in relation to this tragic accident. The minister for defence wishes to again reassure the parents and siblings of the late Cadet David Jevens that he was in no way remotely to blame for the dreadful tragedy which occurred that day.
“The death in service of any member of the Defence Forces, particularly in such tragic circumstances, has a profound effect at every level in the organisation.”
The minister, the court heard, agreed to pay maximum damages of €25,395 and had also agreed to pay for the cadet’s funeral expenses of €6,240 and the cost of his headstone, €4,900, bringing the total to €36,535, plus legal costs.
It was agreed the parents would each receive €8,465, and the late cadet’s siblings, Sarah, 24, and Christopher, 20, €4,232.50 each.
Afterwards, Donal and Liz Jevens said the minister’s statement which, they said, totally exonerated their son, meant a lot to them.
They said that following a phone call on the eve of the court hearing, they will meet Mr Shatter, the chief of staff, and the secretary general, on March 26, and would await the outcome of that meeting before discussing the matter further.
Ms Jevens said the minister’s statement had vindicated their son and she thanked members of the Air Corps and Defence Forces for their support.
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