Co Kildare postman gets conviction today for dangerous driving causing death of pensioner

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Co Kildare postman gets conviction today for dangerous driving  causing death of pensioner
17:00 Tuesday 13th of March 2018

A Co Kildare postman has been convicted of dangerous driving causing the death of a pensioner in  Dublin almost two and half years ago.

The Kilcullen man had pleaded not  guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Patricia Dunne (70) at Killester,  Dublin on October 16, 2015.

He had also pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dishonestly inducing the National Driving Licence Service (NDLS) to issue him with a driving licence on September 30, 2014. He had further denied making a false or misleading statement while taking out insurance on September 16, 2015.

The jury took almost three and half hours on day seven of the trial to return a majority verdict to the dangerous driving charge. The jurors also returned unanimous guilty verdicts to the remaining counts.

Judge Patricia Ryan remanded the acused on continuing bail and adjourned sentencing to May 4, next. She ordered a victim impact report for that date.

The trial previously heard the pensioner was walking home pulling a shopping trolley around midday on the day in question when she began to cross the road.

A van slowed to allow Ms Dunne to cross, but a car driven by the accused hit her and she was “flung up in the air” before the car came to a stop.

Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, told the jury in her opening that it was the prosecution case that the accused suffered from Usher Syndrome Type 2, a condition which causes difficulty seeing in low light and loss of peripheral vision.

The trial heard from a clinical ophthalmologist at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Research Foundation who confirmed that he diagnosed the accused as having Usher Syndrome Type 2 in December 1997.

A letter from the same witness, Dr Paul Kenna, read out to the jury stated that the accused told him he was driving in daylight and also at night and he “strongly advised him” against driving in daylight or at night. “

Garda Patrick McIlroy, a collision expert, told the jury he calculated that the accused was driving at 49 km/hr at the time of impact with Ms Dunne and that she was thrown up in the air at a velocity of 41 km/hr. Gda McIlroy told Ms O'Sullivan that he concluded that when Ms Dunne was visible on the road, having stepped out from between two parked cars, the accused was 39 meters away.

He said with a normal driver reaction time of 1.5 seconds and the driver slamming on the brakes, the vehicle should have come to a complete stop 3.5 meters away from Ms Dunne, thereby preventing a collision.

The court heard that Ms Dunne was crossing a “busy road” and there was no pedestrian crossing at the time. A pedestrian crossing has since been put in place, the trial heard.

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