Accused cleared of driving charge

A young man accused of dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to his friend was found not guilty by the unanimous verdict of a jury yesterday.

Michael O’Regan, 25, of Upper Cloghroe, Tower, Co Cork, pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Frank McCarthy at Knocknamore, Ovens, Co Cork, on March 7, 2013.

Prosecution barrister Siobhán Lankford gave an outline of the anticipated evidence in the case. She said Michael O’Regan was the driver of a Volkswagen Polo, his friend Frank McCarthy was in the front passenger seat and Aidan O’Connor was in the back seat when the car crashed into the grotto at Knocknamore at around 6am that morning.

Ms Lankford said the three young men had gone out together at 7.30pm on the night of March 6, 2013.

Garda Jonathan O’Sullivan arrived on the scene and found the car wheels pointing straight ahead. “It had crashed straight ahead into a grotto. There were no skid marks,” he said.

The defence called Padraig Murphy, engineer, who said that after negotiating 70% of the bend there was a sudden movement to the left.

He said there were three rational explanations for the crash: a vehicle coming in the opposite direction; a pedestrian in the area; or the driver falling asleep.

Cross-examining, Ms Lankford said the arrival of another car or pedestrian at this rural spot at 5.30am was remote and the defendant driver falling asleep was the only rational explanation.

Motor assessor Conor Deasy said the crashed Polo had dual-controls with clutch and brake pedals on the front passenger side also and if this alternative clutch had been pressed it would have caused the car to coast.

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