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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Man pleads not guilty to dangerous driving causing deaths

A 20 year old man has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing the deaths of a Garda and a Fireman in Co. Limerick last year.

Niall Shannon an apprentice carpenter from Ballylongford Co. Kerry is on trial following a road traffic accident in February of last year in which Garda Brian Kelleher and fireman Michael Liston were killed.

Garda Brian Kelleher who was originally form Mallow but based at Croom Garda station and Fire-fighter 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, driven by Mr. Shannon crashed into the scene at high speed. Both emergency service workers died at the scene.

A jury has been sworn in for the case which got underway this morning at Limerick Circuit Court. Mr. Shannon has also pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with two bald tyres.

During the evening session of the first day of the trial Wednesday, the jury was warned by Judge Carroll Moran not to let sympathy for the victims families or the defendant affect their judgment during the case which may last for 8 days.

During opening proceedings, prosecutor John O’Kelly told the court of how Mr. Shannon drove at speed towards the scene at which the garda and fireman were attending, ignoring a fire-fighter who had been on point duty 130 metres from the scene and who had tried to flag him down, continued at speed striking the open door of a fire engine before finally hitting Garda Brian Kelleher and fireman Michael Liston.

Mr O'Kelly said for somebody to drive in such a manner that he failed to stop, not just when there were flashing lights on the road, but also when there was a uniformed fireman trying to flag him down is evidence of the most dangerous driving you could possibly conceive.

He said Mr Shannon was driving his car at a speed so fast it propelled the two victims into the air, one into a wall and the other 30m down the road.

He said in addition there will be evidence of driving with excess alcohol and the jury may also consider this when deciding on the charge of dangerous driving.
Via RTE News
The trial continues tomorrow.

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