Dayna Kearney, pictured at Naas courthouse today. Picture: Tony Keane/Leinster Leader
Dayna Kearney has been found not guilty of all charges in connection with the fatal 2015 car crash near Athy in which four of her friends lost their lives.
The jury at Naas Circuit Court deliberated for 21 minutes this afternoon before returning a not guilty verdict on charges of dangerous driving causing death and driving a defective vehicle on January 6 at Burtown, Athy.
The trial of the 23-year-old Carlow woman had started on Tuesday.
The student, whose address was listed as Crossneen, Carlow, had 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 accident claimed the lives of Athy resident Aisling Middleton (19) and Carlow natives Niamh Doyle (19), Chermaine Carroll (20) and Gemma Nolan (19).
The jury of seven women and five men were excused from jury service for five years by Judge Eoin Garavan, who thanked them for performing their civic duty.
"This was a very sad tragedy, it was tragedy upon tragedy," said Judge Garavan, who sympathised with and paid tribute to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased.
"Nothing this court can do can replace their lives," said.
He said Ms. Kearney will live with the consequences of the accident and he said it appeared that the tragedy was caused by underinflated tyres, something which could be easily overlooked.
Athy-based solicitor Frank Taaffe, who represented the defendant, said her reaction to the outcome was one of relief tinged with great sadness.
"She is relieved but shattered. She has undergone counselling since the accident and she feels the loss of her friends greatly. Dayna is tragically sorry for what happened and feels greatly for the families of her friends. It has been a tremendous ordeal for her and she has expressed her sorrow," added Mr. Taaffe.