Jury fails to reach verdict in dangerous driving case

Jury fails to reach verdict in dangerous driving case

The driver of a car involved in a head-on collision denied the charge of dangerous driving causing serious harm to the other motorist and also denied evidence that he told three witnesses a dog had run out in front of him. Picture: iStock

The driver of a car involved in a head-on collision denied the charge of dangerous driving causing serious harm to the other motorist and also denied evidence that he told three witnesses a dog had run out in front of him.

The injured man said the accused told him that a dog had run out in front of him. Two other witnesses said the Polish man used the word, “Dog”, and gestured to the effect that a dog had run out in front of him.

Piotr Skoczylas of Curragh Woods, Frankfield, Cork, denied ever saying anything about a dog at the scene of the early morning crash.

He also denied dangerous driving. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of dangerous driving causing serious injury to Liam O’Riordan at Meenane, Watergrasshill, County Cork, early on the morning of April 3 2019.

Now at Cork Circuit Criminal Court a jury has failed to reach any verdict in the case. Judge Helen Boyle told them to record a finding of disagreement and she then adjourned the matter for re-listing on October 27.

Two jurors were discharged in the course of the trial but the prosecution and defence agreed to go ahead with a jury of ten.

Liam O’Riordan testified that he left home for work at 6.30 that morning in his Ford Fusion station wagon, and that, “I was just driving on the road. I saw this man. He continued over the continuous white line on to my path.

“He (his car) hit me bang-on. Before he hit me I stopped and pulled in. I pulled up against the grass margin. He came on to my side of the road. I pulled in and stopped. I fully stopped.

“When I pulled up I thought he might correct himself but didn’t. He came out of the car and came over to me. He looked at me. I said would you please call the ambulance.

“I said, what happened? And he said a dog ran out in front of him.”

Mr O’Riordan suffered a number of fractures to his ribs and other injuries, the most serious of which was a fractured knee cap. Mr Skoczylas was not injured.

Defence barrister Peter O’Flynn said the defendant never said anything about a dog. The barrister also said that Mr O’Riordan never referred to a dog in his statement to gardaí.

Mr O’Flynn said two witnesses who arrived at the scene were mistaken when they said the accused made a reference to a dog and gestured to the effect that one had run out in front of his car.

54-year-old Skoczylas said he was driving his Volkswagen Jetta. He testified through an interpreter, “I saw a car in my lane. I swerved and panicked and went into his lane. He must have looked and done the same – went back in to his lane – and we crashed.”

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