Car “dangerously defective” - court hears

A man who was involved in an accident in which a pedestrian lost his life, has been convicted of driving a vehicle with a known defect and his mechanic severely criticised.

It was acknowledged by both sides in court that the failure of the rear brake on Mr Philip Campbell’s car had nothing to do with the accident which occurred on November 26 2006 at Clongowany on the N4.

The victim was walking in the middle of the bypass in very frosty conditions. Mr Campbell didn’t have time to brake, the court heard, and he faced no charges in relation to his driving on the night.

Mr Campbell had spent €850 only weeks before the accident having the car serviced. The mechanic, who did not appear in court, said in his statement that the brakes were in perfect working order and there had been no need to replace the rear brakes.  

It had spent two weeks with the mechanic who had been recommended by a family friend and Mr Campbell was told it was ready for the NCT.

When a PSV inspector, Garda Little, from Drogheda inspected the vehicle following the incident he described it as “dangerously defective”. There was constant noise in the car when he drove it, as a result of lining having fallen off within the brake drum.

The car was a “potential hazard,” he said, “an accident waiting to happen”. The constant rubbing noise of metal against metal was “a dead give-away,” he added and said that if it had been his vehicle he would “certainly” have gone back to the mechanic and “I’d question his credentials as well”.

The court heard that the accident had had an ‘horrific effect’ on the 24 year old part-time musician and full-time sales rep and his mother, who was in the car at the time.

After hearing expert mechanical witnesses, Judge Anderson concluded that the defect in the brakes “should have been discovered by ordinary care, by a reasonable person”.

He said Mr Campbell had been “failed badly and let down badly” by his mechanic, that “no competent mechanic” would have done as he did.

“Therein lies his lesson in dealing with the black economy and not checking people’s qualifications.” He fined him €750.  


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