Suspended sentence for truck driver whose reckless driving caused the death of a cyclist

A lorry driver has been given a nine-month suspended prison sentence for reckless driving in the death of a cyclist in Dublin four years ago.

David Morrissey (29) of Glendale Meadow, Leixlip, Co. Kildare, had pleaded not guilty to driving without care and attention which led to the death of Harry Boland, 19, at the junction of Greenfield Park and Stillorgan Road in April . 18, 2018.

He was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury last May after a five-day trial. The trial heard that Mr Boland was on the northbound cycle path at the junction of Greenfield Park and the N11 Stillorgan Road opposite RTÉ, with the traffic lights flashing red.

Morrissey was driving a large DAF rigid truck, used to transport quarry materials to and from construction sites and was stopped in the left lane. Next to him were Mr. Boland and another cyclist, Jason McMahon, who was behind Mr. Boland.

When the lights turned green, Morrissey turned left and Mr Boland found himself under the truck, seriously injured. Despite the early arrival of first responders and off-duty medics, along with an HSE ambulance crew and an emergency consultant from nearby St Vincent’s Hospital, Mr Boland was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter.

The accusation was that Mr Boland was visible from the van’s cab vantage point and that Morrissey should have seen him, using several wide-angle mirrors fitted to the truck, including mirrors covering the road immediately to the front and on the left side of the vehicle.

Morrissey said he looked but did not see Mr Boland. A Garda forensic investigator said a blind spot, from the lorry driver’s perspective, was very small and much smaller than Mr Boland and his bike.

Sentencing today

Sentencing Morrissey on Tuesday, Judge Elma Sheahan said she was satisfied that Morrissey’s inattention, in a way less than that of a reasonably competent driver, meant he was driving away when he was not not sure to do so.

“If he had been careful and careful, one would have expected him to have seen Harry Boland,” the judge said. She said Morrisey’s conduct had had catastrophic consequences and said the Boland family had borne this “tremendous loss” with “dignity and courage”, as evidenced by the lawsuit.

Judge Sheahan acknowledged that various witnesses gave different accounts of what they observed that day and that Morrissey said he checked his mirrors before moving the truck and no one was visible to him .

The judge acknowledged that there were no additional aggravating factors in the case as there was no evidence that Morrissey had been under the influence of an intoxicating substance, he did not exceed, he did not was not on his cell phone and there were no faults in his vehicle.

Referring to various case law, Justice Sheahan noted that in a reckless driving case, which does not involve additional aggravating factors, a custodial sentence is not necessarily warranted.

She also noted that a disqualification order, for someone like Morrissey whose profession requires him to have a full driver’s license, is a significant punishment because it affects his ability to earn a living and support himself. his family.

Judge Sheahan took into account that Morrissey has no prior convictions, that he has shown genuine remorse and regret “consistent with his actions at the scene of the accident” and his cooperation with the investigation of the Guarda.

She handed down a nine-month sentence which she suspended in full, after noting that the maximum sentence in this case is two years.

She also banned him from driving for five years, but that disqualification order is not due to come into effect until October to allow Morrissey to help his partner who is due to give birth in the coming months.

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