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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jury in Niall Shannon trial fails to reach verdict

Hung Jury in double road death case.
The Jury in the trial of Niall Shannon has found the 20 year old guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol but have failed to reach a verdict on the charge of dangerous driving causing death.

The jury of seven woman and five men returned their verdict this evening reaching a unanimous decision in relation to the charge of drink driving however the jury foreperson said there was “no prospect of agreeing a verdict” on the charge of dangerous driving causing the death of Garda Brian Kelleher and fireman Michael Liston.

The carpenter from Ballylongford in Co. Kerry was on trial following the road traffic accident in February of last year in which Garda and fireman were killed as they attended the scene of an earlier crash.

After thanking the jury for their service Judge Carroll Moran excused the jurors from further jury service for two years.

In a statement issued following the conclusion of the trial Limerick County Council said: "The thoughts of Limerick County Council and its employees are with the families of Firefighter Michael Liston and Garda Brian Kelleher at this difficult time."

The statement added: "Limerick County Council would like to thank all the Firefighters involved for both their professionalism and competency on the night of the incident on 25 February 2007 when we lost close colleagues, and for the way in which they aided the State in the prosecution of this case."
Via Limerick Leader
Counsel for the state Michael Collins said he will now wait for further instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Garda Kelleher who was originally form Mallow but based at Croom Garda station and Fireman Michael Liston who was based in Foynes were both first responders to the scene of the overturned car on the N69 road near Foynes around 5am the morning of Sunday February 25th 2007 when a second car, a1994 Kerry-registered black Audi coupe driven by Mr. Shannon crashed into the scene at high speed. Both emergency service workers died at the scene.

In a trial which lasted eight days, the jury heard harrowing evidence from colleagues of the two victims who were in attendance on the morning of the crash as they described witnessing their friends last moments.

Mr. Shannon had pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against him including a charge of driving with two bald tyres, a charge which was dropped during the trial.

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