THE trial has opened of a man accused of multiple charges relating to a fatal road traffic accident near Newtownbutler just over two years ago in which an elderly man was killed.
Kieran Smith (24) from Lisbree, Cootehill, Co Cavan, is accused of aiding and abetting his friend to cause death by driving dangerously, without insurance, and with excess alcohol.
The case is before Dungannon Crown Court where all charges are denied.
The offences relate to the death of Patrick McGeough on 3 September 2016, who died following the crash.
The seventy-nine-year-old from Monaghan was driving along the Cavan Road, Newtownbutler, when his car was struck with high force by Smith’s Audi, which was being driven by his drunk friend.
It is the Prosecution case Smith allowed his friend to drive in this condition, and even after a hit-and-run collision, continued on before minutes later, smashing head-on, at high speed into Mr McGeough’s car.
The court heard Smith and his drunk friend’s high-speed road trip began in the carpark of Monaghan Leisure Centre, where they were confronted by the manager.
He was so concerned by their behaviour he alerted Garda.
But before being detected, two accidents had occurred, the second of which ended in the death of Mr McGeough and left two other vehicles badly damaged.
The driving episode ran for under 14 miles, and took about 20 minutes from leaving the carpark in Monaghan town to the final, fatal collision near Newtownbutler.
One of the victims from the first incident reported seeing the Audi approaching at high speed in his rear-view mirror He noticed it clipping hedges and grass verges as it veered across the road.
The victim knew his car would be struck and “braced himself” for the impact. Immediately afterward the Audi moved to the wrong side of the road, then made off at speed, overtaking four cars before disappearing over the brow of a hill. The damage caused to the first victim’s vehicle amounted to £1,600 and he proceeded to alert the Garda as he was so concerned by the manner of driving.
Shortly after however, having sped to Newtownbutler, the Audi, again on the wrong side of the road, smashed head-on into Mr McGeough’s Ford Escort.
The force of the collision was so severe, part of the Audi was embedded in the elderly victim’s car.
A vehicle travelling behind Mr McGeough was also struck and damaged.
Mr McCreanor said he could not say what passed between the two men as they drove “in a manner which fell far below the standard of a careful or competent driver”, but there was sufficient evidence to infer Smith had the necessary intent in assisting or encouraging his friend in bad driving.
The leisure centre manager, one of the first to give evidence, explained Monaghan town was very busy on the day in question with a blues festival underway.
The centre carpark was being used by campers and it was while chatting to some of them around 2pm, his attention was drawn to Smith and his friend who, “Looked out of place … they didn’t seem steady on their feet…they looked under the influence.” He asked the pair what they were doing and was told, “We are going swimming.”
On being told they were not, one of the males replied, “I’m the manager.”
But when it was pointed out they were actually talking to the manager, who told them to leave, the pair made their way toward the Audi and drive off at speed in the direction of Clones.
Concerned by seeing the men get into a car both of whom he suspected had consumed alcohol, then drive off in the manner they did, the manager decided to “do the right thing” and contact the Garda.
His call was logged at 2.10pm. Within 20 minutes, several cars would be damaged and Mr McGeough was dead.
This concluded the first day of the trial which is expected to last around a week.
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