Truck driver convicted of causing death of 19-year-old cyclist

The judge thanked the jury for what she said was a 'very difficult and sad trial'
Truck driver convicted of causing death of 19-year-old cyclist

Peter Murtagh

A truck driver has been convicted of causing the death of a 19-year-old cyclist through careless driving.

The driver, David Morrissey (29) of Glendale Meadow, Leixlip, Co Kildare, who had pleaded not guilty, sat motionless in the dock, his head bowed but showing no emotion, as the guilty verdict was read out.

He had been charged with driving without due care and attention, thereby causing the death of 19-year-old cyclist Harry Boland from Leeson Park in Donnybrook, Dublin, at the junction of Greenfield Park and the Stillorgan Road near RTÉ on the afternoon of April 18th, 2018.

The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury reached their majority verdict after deliberating for three hours and 35 minutes. The foreman told Judge Elma Sheahan that the vote was 10 to two to convict.

Judge Sheahan thanked them for what she said was a "very difficult and sad trial".

The five-day trial heard that Mr Boland was in the north-bound cycle lane at the junction of Greenfield Park and the N11 Stillorgan Road opposite RTÉ with the traffic lights at red. Morrissey, who was driving a large DAF rigid truck, used to transport quarry material to and from building sites, was also stopped in the left-hand lane.

Beside him was Mr Boland and another cyclist, Jason McMahon, who was behind Mr Boland.

When the lights changed to green, Morrissey turned left and Mr Boland ended up under the truck, severely injured. Despite the early arrival of off-duty first responders and medics, plus a HSE ambulance crew and emergency consultant from nearby St Vincent's Hospital, Mr Boland was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Blind spot

The prosecution case was that Mr Boland was visible from the point of view of the lorry cab and that Morrissey should have seen him, with the aid of several wide angle mirrors mounted on the truck, including mirrors covering the road immediately to the front and to the left-hand side of the vehicle.

Morrissey said that he had looked but had not seen Mr Boland.

A Garda forensic crash investigator said a blind spot, from the point of view of the truck driver, was very small and much smaller than Mr Boland and his bicycle.

The defence argued that Mr Boland could have fallen from his bike, and under the truck, through no fault of the driver. Questions were raised as to whether Mr Boland had been listening to music on headphones and whether he had been wearing a high-viz jacket.

After the verdict was announced, defence counsel Garnet Orange SC asked whether a probation report should be done on Morrissey and for time to gather testimonials on his behalf.

Judge Sheahan agreed and adjourned the case for sentencing on June 20th, remanding Morrissey on continuing bail.

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