BALLYSHANNON DISTRICT COURT

Road accident case comes to abrupt end in court

Judge vacates himself from court hearing

Court Reporter

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Road accident case comes to abrupt end in court

A hearing into an alleged no insurance case against a County Leitrim man who suffered severe injuries in a single vehicle road accident, came to an abrupt end at Ballyshannon District Court on Friday.

The end came following an exchange of views between Judge Kevin Kilrane and defence barrister Johnny McCoy as the case reached a climax.

The defendant, 39-year-old Patrick Murphy, Gubbacreeny, Kinlough, County Leitrim, had just finished giving evidence after being cross-examined by Superintendent Colm Nevin when Judge Kilrane asked the defence if that was their case.

When barrister Mr McCoy said yes, the judge said he was going to convict.

Mr McCoy rose to his feet to protest that he did not have a chance to make a submission on behalf of the defence which he said was “customary”.

Judge Kilrane said that when the barrister had said yes to his question, he took it that there was nothing more to be said.

If he had said “no” it would have been a different matter.

Following a further brief exchange, the judge said he was vacating the hearing.

The case was adjourned until March 16th to get a date for another judge to hear the case.

A garda told the court earlier how the defendant was in the back of an ambulance following a single vehicle accident at Celtic Cross View, Tullaghan on October 20th, 2016.

A motorbike was lying on the road.

The defendant was initially reluctant to give details but later gave his address.

The garda said he spoke to the defendant who admitted clipping the kerb.

The garda took the registration of the motorbike and the defendant later produced his documents.

The defendant was brought to Sligo General Hospital where he was questioned by another garda, the court heard.

Defence barrister Johnny McCoy said his client was also charged with drunk driving but that had been withdrawn.

The garda said this was to do with the limit of three hours in which the matter must be prosecuted.

Mr McCoy said his client would say he was the passenger and not the driver of the vehicle.

And there was no certificate of ownership for the vehicle.

Mr McCoy said there was a lacuna in the chain of evidence in that there were no garda witnesses from the hospital and no witness to say his client was driving.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said the defence had a case to answer.

Patrick Murphy told the court he had been in a house in Bundoran and another man in the house asked him if he wanted to go for a spin and he agreed.

The defendant said the driver of the motorcycle, who was Lithuanian, whom he did not know and who was later deported from Ireland, had a “speed wobble”

Mr. Murphy denied admitting to the garda in the ambulance that he had been driving.

He sustained serious injuries including a shattered wrist and cracked ribs.

The defendant said he had given gardaí a blood sample in Sligo General Hospital.

He denied owning the vehicle and said he was only a passenger.

In cross- examination Superintendent Colm Nevin said the defendant had sustained “horrific injuries”.

The defendant said he had drunk four pints before the accident and after the accident had drunk half a bottle of whiskey in Tracey McDonagh’s house “for the pain”.

He said the driver of the motorcycle was a Lithuanian in his 30s whom he did not know.

The defendant said the Lithuanian asked him earlier:

“Let’s go for a spin, and I said no problem”.

He added that the motorbike had clipped the kerb, and he was wearing a helmet.

Superintendent Nevin wondered if the defendant had such serious injuries, then the other man must have had serious injuries as well.

“Where is he now”? asked the Superintendent.

The defendant said the man had since left the country after being deported from Sligo.

Judge Kevin Kilrane asked the defence it that was their case.

When the answer was in the affirmative the judge said:

“Convict”.