A Galway man on trial for knocking down and killing a cyclist has been found not guilty of dangerous driving causing death.
Michael Dillon (38 ) with an address at Puirin, Inverin, Co Galway, had been charged with dangerous driving causing the death of triathlete and businessman Howard Flannery (39 ), Cahercalla, Ennis, Co Clare, on June 3, 2007. A jury at Ennis Circuit Court returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty last Friday. Dillon was also cleared of careless driving.
According to reports, during the three day trial the jury heard how Dillon had been driving his Nissan X-Trail 4x4 on the hard shoulder of the Ennis-Limerick dual carriageway when he struck Mr Flannery from behind.
When questioned, Dillon had denied feeling tired and falling asleep behind the wheel. It was revealed that Dillon had a 22-hour day the previous day when he got up at 5am and set out on a diving outing to Co Kerry with the Galway sub-aqua club.
In giving evidence, Garda Maurice Nolan had told the court that Dillon had failed to react when his vehicle struck Mr Flannery. The vehicle carried the victim for 76 metres on the windscreen of the car before it came to a stop. Mr Dillon’s vehicle also veered off the dual-carriageway on to the grass verge for 70 metres before mounting a concrete ramp of an underpass to strike Mr Flannery. Garda Nolan added that Dillon had suffered some form of blackout.
A medical report also showed that tests for alcohol and drugs were negative and other test results were normal. The report also revealed that the incident was unlikely to be explained.
On the last day of the trial, Judge Gerard Griffin instructed the jury that if it concluded that Dillon had suffered a black out before the impact, it must return a not- guilty verdict.
Defence counsel put it to the jury that if the prosecution’s case was that Dillon had lost control of the car because of fatigue, it must establish that he knew he was fatigued and drove on regardless.