Man cleared of dangerous driving causing death of motorcyclist in Donegal

Judge directs jury to return not guilty verdict

Democrat Reporter

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Man cleared of dangerous driving causing death of motorcyclist in Donegal

Letterkenny Court House

A Lifford man charged with dangerous driving causing the death of a motorcyclist in a road traffic collision near Raphoe has been found not guilty by direction of the judge.

David McCauley (36) of Drumkeen, Lifford  was cleared on the second day of a trial at Letterkenny Circuit Court. He had denied dangerous driving causing the death of Hugh Shalvey at Magherasolis, Raphoe on October 29th, 2014.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan directed the jury to find him not guilty after accepting an application from defence counsel Jonathan Kilfeather (SC).

Mr McCauley had denied dangerous driving and charges relating to the lights on the trailer.

The collision occurred on a long straight stretch of road and on a broken white line.

Mr Shalvey overtook two cars before he collided with Mr McCauley’s Landcruiser and trailer.

As the motorcyclist overtook the two cars Mr McCauley turned right into a farmyard.

On the second day of evidence, the court heard that the trailer had received maintenance on its lights just weeks before the accident and all the lights had been operating.

Garda evidence to the court stated that only one light was working on the trailer after the accident.

Mr Kilfeather said it was not possible to say when the break in the circuit which caused the lights to be not working occurred.


Garda  Kevin Giles, a forensic collision investigator, estimated Mr McCauley’s vehicle was travelling at a speed of 65 kmph according to CCTV footage recorded a point around 400 metres from the collision point. Mr Shalvey was travelling at 101kmph.

Garda Giles said the road surface and weather conditions were not contributory factors. He said mechanical deficiencies  on the trailer would have been considered a contributory factor in the collision, as would the speed of the motorcycle and the actions of the jeep driver, as he did not observe the motorcyclist when he was carrying out the overtaking manoeuvre.

Directing the jury to return a verdict of not guilty, Judge O’Sullivan said “there was no point in heaping one injustice on top of another”.

“These are difficult cases and I want to take the opportunity to sympathise with the friends and family of Mr Shalvey,” he said.