December 5, 2023

A person accused of harmful driving following an accident by which a motorcyclist misplaced his leg has been discovered not responsible by path of the trial choose.

Ballyshannon resident David Lecky, 55, was left with life-altering accidents following the crash exterior Carrigans in August, 2016.

Levi Morrison, a 29-year-old mechanic from Derry went on trial at Letterkenny Circuit Courtroom this week in reference to the incident.

He pleaded not responsible to a cost of harmful driving inflicting severe bodily hurt to Mr Lecky at Dunmore, Carrigans, on August 17, 2016 however pleaded responsible to fees of driving with out insurance coverage and of failing to provide insurance coverage on the identical day.

Over the course of two days, proof was heard concerning the occasions main as much as the incident and the following investigation carried out by Gardai into the crash.

In addition to civilian witnesses on the scene, proof was heard from Gardai which steered that Morrison had been rushing on the time of the crash.

Nonetheless, in the beginning of the third day of the trial, Morrison’s barrister, Mr Colm Smyth, SC, requested for a path within the case.

His utility to Decide Aylmer, within the absence of the jury, steered that the proof was so tenuous that it couldn’t attain a typical of proof past an inexpensive doubt {that a} jury may convict the accused of harmful driving.

Decide Aylmer thought-about the appliance and agreed that the proof didn’t attain a typical that was protected to the put to a jury.

He recalled the jury of eight males and 4 ladies to elucidate his choice.

He stated that the proof was so tenuous and so skinny that no jury charged by the choose and understanding the usual of proof past an inexpensive doubt may ever convict the accused of harmful driving or careless driving for that matter.

He added that the one proof of velocity was from one witness who had a momentary flash or glimpse of Mr Morrison’s automotive coming in the direction of him and that it could be unsafe to permit the jury to entertain that risk.

He concluded what he now needed to do was to provide the jury a path to acquit on the path of a trial choose to seek out Mr Morrison not responsible by path of a trial choose.

The accused, of Tudor Courtroom, Rosemount, Derry who had no earlier convictions of any type, had beforehand pleaded responsible to not having insurance coverage and never producing insurance coverage for the car.

Decide Aylmer thought-about the proof and stated that as this was a primary offence and that Morrison wanted his license for work as a mechanic he wouldn’t disqualify him however fined him €500 for having no insurance coverage.

Throughout the trial the court docket was advised that Morrison was driving an Audi A4, which he had bought yesterday, when he collided with the Suzuki motorcycle being pushed by Mr Lecky. Morrison was driving the automotive from Derry to Carrigans as there was a ‘downside with it’.

Ms Fiona Crawford BL opened the case on behalf of the prosecution on Wednesday.

Garda Sergeant Gerry McCauley, a forensic collision investigator, gave proof of attending the scene of the accident, which was a distance of round 1.4km from Carrigans village. Maps and images exhibiting the scene got to the jury.

The court docket heard that the bike got here to a relaxation on a grass verge following a head-on collision with a automotive.
Mr Lecky, aged 55 and of Ashbrooke Drive in Ballyshannon, advised the trial that he has ‘no reminiscence in any way of the collision’.

Mr Lecky stated he has a ‘obscure reminiscence’ of leaving his house and taking his motorcycle as his automotive was with a mechanic on the time.

“I keep in mind going out the again door, however I’ve no reminiscence of even getting onto the bike,” he stated,

His first reminiscence after waking from a coma in Galway Hospital was of having the ability to transfer his left arm ‘a wee bit’ however was unable to maneuver anything.

“The abiding reminiscence is of the nursing workers coming round and placing a clip on my finger to take blood stress,” Mr Lecky stated. “I keep in mind pondering it was a bit spiteful to place it on the one a part of my physique that I may transfer.”

Mr Lecky had his left leg amputated from the knee down in early 2017 described himself as ‘functionally a full-time wheelchair consumer’.

Witness Mr Aidan Donoghue, advised the trial that he was working within the Donegal space and stayed in Ballybofey the earlier night time. He was touring from the Inishleigh Co-Op to Donegal Meats in Carrigans. Mr Donoghue was driving a Mitsubishi Outlander and recalled how he was conscious of a motorcyclist behind him. As he turned proper for the meat manufacturing unit, Mr Donoghue stated he was nonetheless conscious of the motorcyclist behind him and advised the trial that he bought the ‘impression’ of a automotive coming from the Derry path at a excessive velocity.

He recalled how he heard a bang after he turned down the highway earlier than returning to see {that a} collision occurred between a motorcycle and a automotive. Mr Donoghue telephoned the emergency companies and remained on the scene.

Morrison was represented within the case by Mr Colm Smyth SC and Mr Peter Nolan BL, instructed by solicitor Kieran O’Gorman.

Mr David Kelly, a good friend of Morrison’s, was driving behind the accused man in a Transit van. Mr Kelly advised Gardai that he was conscious Morrison was taking the automotive again to Carrigans because it was overheating.

“I’m not certain of the velocity, however he wasn’t rushing,” Mr Kelly stated in a press release learn to the court docket by Ms Crawford. Mr Kelly recalled how Morrison needed to ‘shoot to the fallacious facet of the highway’ to keep away from colliding with a silver automotive that was making a proper flip. Mr Kelly recalled seeing ‘a giant spray of automotive components within the air’.

Mr Kelly advised how he bought out of his automotive and noticed Mr Lecky on the highway.

“I don’t suppose Levi may have completed something to keep away from the crash.”

Ms Linda Callaghan got here on the scene whereas she was making her approach house to Killea. She recalled seeing a wheel spinning on the motorcycle and Mr Lecky on the bottom.

Noting that Mr Lecky was carrying a marriage ring, Ms Callaghan obtained a cellphone quantity from the injured man. Initially, Ms Callaghan feared that Mr Lecky was lifeless earlier than she went over and knelt down beside him on the highway.

Retired Garda Joseph McDonagh advised the trial that he obtained a report of an accident shortly earlier than 10am. When he arrived on the scene, there have been different Gardai and numerous different folks current.

“The impression seemed very extreme,” Mr McDonagh stated. “The bike was fully twisted.”

Mr McDonagh advised the court docket that Morrison knowledgeable him on the scene that he wasn’t insured. Mr McDonagh retired from An Garda Siochana in October 2016 and his recordsdata had been handed over to a different member.

Garda Damian Mulkearns, a PSV inspector with the Donegal Garda Division, gave proof of inspecting the Audi A4 and the Suzuki motorcycle in August 2016.

There was heavy frontal injury to the Audi A4, with the bumper, radiator, bonnet, windscreen and roof smashed and each headlight assemblies had been out of line.

The steering, suspension and braking methods had been all in a serviceable situation pre-accident. Each airbags had been deployed and there was proof to point {that a} seatbelt was being worn by the driving force on the time of impression.

Garda Mulkearns famous that the driving force’s facet rear tyre was ‘excessively worn’. Two tyres on the car had been stretched over the edges and Garda Mullkearns stated there was an ‘imbalance’ within the tyres fitted to the car.

In relation to the tyres stretched over the larger-diameter rim, Garda Mulkearns stated this may put ‘added stresses’ on the energy of the tyre however didn’t essentially cut back the extent of grip the tyre has.

General, he stated, the Audi A4 was in a serviceable situation pre-accident.

The Suzuki bike was additionally closely broken. The entrance forks, brake disc, headlight, exhaust, gasoline tank, deal with bars and seat had been all broken.

The steering, suspension and braking methods had been all in a serviceable situation whereas the edges and tyres had been additionally in a great situation pre-accident.

Morrison advised Gardai that he purchased a automotive, paying 1500stg for it the day earlier than hand. When he seen that the automotive was overheating, he determined to return to the vendor. Morrison stated he meant to insure the automotive however, as a result of overheating challenge, didn’t.

Morrison estimated that he was travelling about 50 miles per hour.

“After I first noticed the silver automotive, it was about 100 yards away. As I approached, he turned to the suitable and lower me off. I swerved to the suitable to avoiding hitting him. I didn’t see the bike in any respect till I hit it. I used to be solely conscious that I hit a motorbike, however I noticed nothing else till I bought out of the automotive. I didn’t know what to do. I used to be in shock. I noticed the biker on the highway.

“David tended to the biker. I stood there in shock. I keep in mind David shouting to ask if anybody knew CPR.

“I’m conscious that there was an allegation of rushing made in opposition to me. I used to be not rushing. I drove usually inside the velocity restrict.

In one other assertion, given to Gardai in October 2017, Morrison stated he believed that the silver jeep was ‘stopped for a great very long time’ earlier than it ‘instantly, with out warning, crossed in entrance of me’ and he ‘took instant avoidance motion’.

Garda Sergeant Gerry McCauley, a forensic collision investigator, stated the collision occurred within the northbound lane of the R236, which is ruled by a velocity restrict of 80km/h.

The highway floor was ‘excellent, albeit moist’, when Sergeant McCauley arrived.

It was not attainable to find out the place the purpose of impression was on the date of the accident.

On inspection, Sergeant McCauley famous contemporary tyre makes on the central white line, ranging in distance from 14.4m away from the mouth of the junction to 48.8m.

There was no foundation for suggesting that these tyre marks had been from the Audi A4, the court docket was advised.

Sergeant McCauley stated he considered CCTV from a home on the highway, 89m again from the accident. Having chosen two factors, one a big tree and the opposite a backyard wall, and noting the velocity of the system at 12 frames per second, he got here to an estimation that the Audi A4 moved 27.7 metres per second – which labored out at 99.88km/h by his calculations. Sergeant McCauley stated he added a ten per cent margin of error.

He stated this was not the velocity of the automotive on the junction and the car ‘may have slowed down’.

“We will’t deduce from the injury that both car was travelling exterior of the velocity restrict,” Sergeant McCauley stated.

Mr Colm Smyth SC requested Sergeant McCauley if it was true that no-one may say what velocity precisely the Audi A4 was travelling at and he agreed. “He was coming right into a bend, so he may have eased up,” Sergeant McCauley stated.

Mr Smyth stated there was an ‘monumental unknown’ between the CCTV imagery and the precise incident.

After the choose’s choice to acquit, the court docket was advised that there was additionally a civil side being pursued in a separate court docket.

On the finish of the trial, Mr Morrison approached Mr Lecky and the lads shook palms.

Man accused of harmful driving after motorcyclist loses leg is acquitted was final modified: October twenty first, 2023 by Workers Author