Dayna Kearney (23) who was yesterday cleared of all charges relating to a horror crash near Athy three years ago, has been in counselling since then and is still shattered by the tragic incident - according to her solicitor.
Ms Kearney from Crossneen, Carlow, was the driver of the Volkswagen Polo in which the four young women were killed near Athy on January 6, 2015.
She walked free from Naas Circuit Court yesterday after the jury returned not guilty verdicts.
Kearney had pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of Gemma Nolan, 19, Charmaine Carroll, 20, Niamh Doyle, 19 - all from Carlow - and Aisling Middleton, 19 from Athy.
She also denied and was found not guilty of driving a defective vehicle in the incident – the State had alleged that the tyres on the car were under-inflated.
After the trial, the families of the deceased were too upset to talk, but Ms Kearney’s solicitor Frank Taaffe spoke on behalf of his client.
He said: “It is one of relief but it is tinged with great sadness having lost four of her great friends and the losses incurred by the families.
“She is very tragically sorry for what has happened.
"It has been very, very difficult.
"She has been a lady who has gone through counselling for the last three and a half years because of this tragic accident and the loss of four great friends.
“It has been a tremendous ordeal for her.
"She is relieved but still shattered by the events of three and a half years ago.
"She has expressed her sorrow to the families and she feels their loss and understands the loss that has been suffered by those families."
The jury spent just 27 minutes deliberating before presented their not guilty verdicts.
Two of the jurors wept as the ruling was read by a court clerk.
Dayna Kearney wiped tears from her eyes and weeping could be heard from the public gallery, the Irish Daily Mirror reports.
The emotionally charged atmosphere came after the short trial in which the case hinged on whether Kearney took appropriate care of her car.
On the night of the collision the court heard that Dayna and her pals were travelling home after going ice skating and to McDonald’s in Kilkenny.
They were in Dayna’s second-hand Polo which she had bought online.
At the time of the collision, she was driving as an unaccompanied provisional licence holder and the car had a false NCT certificate but Ms Kearney claimed that she was not aware of this.
The prosecution evidence was that at least two of the tyres on the car were not correctly inflated and this caused the collision.
An engineer hired by the defence team said that the cat’s eyes on the road were sticking up too high and may have had an impact on the collision.
Judge Eoin Garvan thanked the jury for their diligence in their consideration of the case and paid a tribute to the four women who were killed.
He said: “Four young people lost their lives on a good road on a good evening. Their lives will never be replaced and no doubt Ms Kearney will live with the consequences of that night for the rest of her life.”
The judge said that a lesson should be learned that the “simple thing of an un-inflated tyre” can be “easily overlooked”.
He added of the victims: “Their lives will never be replaced and no doubt Ms Kearney will live with the consequences of that night for the rest of her life.”
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