Garda's trial starts over dangerous driving death

Garda Warren Farrell
Garda Warren Farrell

A serving garda has gone on trial accused of dangerous driving causing the death of a woman four years ago.

Warren Farrell (35), based in Clondalkin, Co Dublin, was the driver of a marked patrol car responding to a panic button call at a Topaz garage when the car struck a pedestrian.

Elizabeth Core was crossing the road and appeared not to see the patrol car, James Dwyer SC, prosecuting, told the jury in his opening speech for the State.

The emergency lights of the patrol car were activated but the siren was deactivated to allow the garda passenger to communicate with command.

Mr Dwyer told the jurors that he expects they will hear evidence that Mr Farrell applied the brakes and entered the bus lane. The patrol car mounted the footpath and the front left tyre burst.

Collision

The right-hand side of the car hit Ms Core and she was pushed on to the car, counsel said. He said onlookers will say they saw Ms Core look left before the collision.

She was taken to hospital and received medical attention but was pronounced dead a short time later. A State pathologist concluded that her death was caused by head and chest trauma from vehicular impact.

Patrick McGrath SC, defending, said that Gda Farrell accepts he was driving the patrol car. He said there is also no issue as to the cause of Ms Core’s death.

Gda Farrell had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Ms Core at Fonthill Road South on August 28, 2014.

Mr Dwyer said that it is the State’s case that the defendant drove in a dangerous manner and this caused Ms Core’s death.

He said that an accepted definition of dangerous driving is driving in a manner which a reasonably prudent person, having regard to all circumstances, would recognise as involving a direct, immediate and serious risk to the public.

He accepted that there are some road traffic laws which don’t apply to gardai acting in the performance of their duty, where such actions don’t endanger the safety of road users.

Counsel said dangerous driving is not one of these laws.

The trial continues next Tuesday before Judge Cormac Quinn and a jury of six men and six women.