A taxi driver was cleared on the charge of careless driving causing serious bodily harm to a young man travelling on an electric scooter wearing dark clothes – and the jury called for new legislation on hi-vis jackets and insurance for people using e-scooters.
The jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court reached a unanimous not guilty verdict in the case and brought it to the attention of Judge Brian O’Callaghan that they had attached a note to verdict. The judge invited the foreperson to read it.
“We recommend that the legislation be updated in regard to all road users to include electric scooters and the legal requirement to wear a high visibility vest and to have insurance to drive on the road. The full responsibility and due care should not fall solely on car users,” the foreperson said.
Judge O’Callaghan told the taxi driver Jonathan Anayochukwu of Highfield Park, Ballincollig, County Cork, that he was free to go as there was no further charge against him.
The judge assured the six men and six women of the jury that their recommendation would be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities.
The charge on the indictment had alleged that on July 28 2020 at Summerhill North, Cork, the defendant did drive without due care and attention thereby causing serious bodily harm to Bojan Vucak.
The injured party was travelling on an electric scooter at the time of the incident which gave rise to the charge being brought.
Mr Vucak said he had come from Croatia to live in Cork three and a half years ago and was working at the fitness centre at the River Lee hotel that night.
He said he left work at 11pm on his e-scooter wearing a black leather jacket, dark blue jeans and shoes. He had a hood up because it was raining heavily. He was not wearing a helmet. There was a backlight on the scooter and reflectors on the front wheel, he said.
“Approximately, 100 metres before coming home, going up the hill I got hit. I thought it was a bus.
"Before I know what is happening I was on the floor, blood pouring down my face. The ambulance took quite a while but they arrived,” Mr Vucak said.
Prosecution barrister, Ray Boland, said at the opening of the trial that the injured party sustained a skull fracture and fractures to his facial bones and other injuries.
Mr Vucak told defence barrister Emmet Boyle he was much better now apart from some numbness to the left side of his face.
Mr Boyle BL put it to the front seat passenger in the taxi, Sam Daly, that he had stated in his statement to gardaí that it was darker where the accident occurred on Summerhill North due to the presence of trees. Mr Daly, from Montenotte, agreed that it was slightly darker.
Mr Daly said he did not see the moment of the collision because he was looking at his phone.
Pedestrian Alina Skoryk was walking by at the time and similarly she did not see the moment of the collision because she was also looking at her phone.