The jury deciding the case against the driver of the car involved in the road tragedy which claimed the lives of her four friends have been told to leave their emotions outside the door.
23 year old student Dayna Kearney, whose address was listed as Crossneen, Carlow, has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death and driving a defective vehicle at Burtown, Athy, on January 6, 2015.
The collision between the car driven by Ms Kearney and the VW transporter van driven by a Polish man occurred at 9.45 pm. The collision claimed the lives of Athy resident Aisling Middleton (19) and Carlow natives Niamh Doyle (19), Chermaine Carroll (20) and Gemma Nolan (19).
Judge Eoin Garavan addressed the jury of seven woman and five men at Naas Circuit Court today telling them to be “cold, clinical, objective and dispassionate” as they began their deliberations this afternoon,
He also told the jury that the fact that Ms. Kearney had a provisional driving license and was unaccompanied by a full licence holder should not prejudice her.
Referring to pictures of the vehicles taken following the accident, he said the condition of both was influenced by the fact that the van went on fire and necessary cutting work had been done by emergency services personnel. He said the pictures did not prove speed.
He described the incident as “very tragic” and he urged the jurors to treat both allegations separately.
“Clearly nobody intended to cause an accident,” said Judge Garavan.
He added that while it was natural for the jury members to have sympathy for the families of the victims and the defendant, they should not leave their common sense behind.
He also told them to completely disregard anything they may have heard about the case outside the courtroom.
He also said no inference should be drawn from the fact that Ms. Kearney did not give evidence.
“Because she is presumed innocent there is no obligation on her to give evidence. She herself was injured and she doesn't recall the events.”
He also said there was no evidence of “high jinks” in the car.
Referring to an under inflated tyre, Judge Garavan said the while the condition of the car had to be taken into account, it had to be proven that there was a defect and that the defendant knew about it and could she reasonably safeguard against a loss of tyre pressure.
He said if the defect was hidden it could not result in a conviction.