Man to be sentenced over fatal crash

A BUSINESSMAN with interests in Dubai and Spain yesterday pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to dangerous driving causing the death of a Co Tipperary school teacher.

Jason Gormley, aged 39, with an address at Rathlins, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, will be sentenced next Thursday.

The charge arose out of a fatal crash at Ahabeg, Ballysimon, on October 4, 2009, in which Aidan Lawless, aged 53, from Clonmel, lost his life.

Mr Lawless had driven his daughter to Limerick where she was a third-level student at the time.

The court heard that the incident was initially treated as a hit-and-run as Gormley went missing for 16 hours until he was stumbled upon by an off duty garda some miles from the crash scene.

Yesterday’s hearing was told Gormley received High Court bail after spending eight weeks in custody.

The bail of €50,000 in independent sureties and €19,000 cash, contained stringent conditions, which included daily signing on at a Garda station, the surrender of his passport and a curfew.

On his plea of guilty yesterday, John O’Sullivan, for the state, said new bail would have to be entered into if Gormley was to be released until sentencing next week.

The state, he said, did not object to bail, but wanted the same conditions as those set out in the previous High Court bail.

The court was told that one bailsperson who had put up a substantial amount of the €19,000 cash bail in the High Court wished to withdraw and not be involved in the new bail application.

Sgt Gearoid Thompson of Roxoboro Road station said Gormley had significant business interests in Dubai and in Spain.

Sgt Thompson said he had no reason to change his attitude as to the bail conditions set out in the High Court.

Sgt Thompson, in reply to Brian McInerney, for Gormley, said the accused had adhered to all the High Court bail conditions.

Mr McInerney asked that new bail be given to Gormley which would not necessitate the former bailsperson who wished to opt out.

Mr McInerney said Gormley was in a relationship and had a 10-month-old son.

In relation to Gormley’s business interests abroad, Mr McInerney said in the current economic crisis many people have to seek work abroad. If a person in these circumstances, he said, returned and found themselves in circumstances where they needed to get bail in the courts, and if this was denied because they had worked abroad, new jails would have to be built to hold such people.

Judge Carroll Moran said there was a paradox in that having pleaded guilty, this gave the accused less entitlement to bail.

In the circumstances and given that Gormley was unlikely to abscond, he gave him bail on reduced cash terms.

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