Coroner’s court on cyclist’s death given incomplete data

A coroner’s court into the death of Shane O’Farrell was not provided with the full and unredacted versions of statements given by the driver who killed the 23-year-old student.

Coroner’s court on cyclist’s death given incomplete data

A coroner’s court into the death of Shane O’Farrell was not provided with the full and unredacted versions of statements given by the driver who killed the 23-year-old student.

Mr O’Farrell’s family has been campaigning for a full public inquiry into his death in 2011, a call endorsed by a Dáil motion last June.

Now the Irish Examiner has learned the coroner’s court into Mr O’Farrell’s death was not furnished with the full statements that the driver, Zigimantas Gridziuska, provided under caution to gardaí. A portion of one statement contained omissions referring to Gridziuska’s drug use. A second statement based on another interview was not made available to the court.

Introduction into the proceedings of Gridziuska’s drug use may have provided the coroner with a fuller picture of the events leading up to Mr O’Farrell’s death.

The discrepancy is the latest in a series of errors, oversights, and omissions in the criminal justice system around the events leading up to and following the death of Mr O’Farrell.

Gridziuska, a native of Lithuania, had in the months before he killed Mr O’Farrell broken bail conditions a number of times and the O’Farrell family believes he should have been either in prison or deported at the time of the accident.

Gridziuska subsequently pleaded guilty for failing to stop at the scene of an accident, and received an eight-month suspended sentence.

The omissions in the statements came to light after Mr O’Farrell’s mother, Lucia, obtained both the original book of statements from the Garda investigation into her son’s death and the statements available to the coroner.

“We’re in our eighth year of this and still discovering things that weren’t done properly,” she told this paper. “I found this to be a complete bodyblow. What more is there that we do not know? We don’t have the truth, all we have is what we discovered ourselves, and we want to know what more is there that we don’t yet know?”

Meanwhile, sources have confirmed that the issue of a public inquiry into Mr O’Farrell’s death was raised by Fianna Fáil in the recent renegotiation of the programme for government with Fine Gael. There was no conclusive outcome.

Last June, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said a public inquiry could not be conducted as disciplinary issues against some gardaí were still outstanding.

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