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Saturday 16 November 2019

Fireman pleads guilty to dangerous driving causing man's death

Derek Keane pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to offer assistance
Derek Keane pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to offer assistance

A firefighter has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of a man in north Co Dublin.

Derek Keane (40) also admitted failing to offer assistance to the victim, Callum Grimes (27), who was found seriously injured at the roadside after the incident in 2016 and died seven months later.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing to a later date when Keane entered his pleas at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Keane, of The Cottage, Loughshinny, Skerries, was charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Mr Grimes at Loughshinny on December 27, 2016.

He was also charged with failing to offer assistance knowing an injury had been caused, and with intent to escape civil or criminal liability.

Catherine and Mark Grimes parents of Callum (Cal) Grimes
Catherine and Mark Grimes parents of Callum (Cal) Grimes

Condolences

Keane, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and navy tie, stood in the dock when the charges were read out to him.

Asked how he was pleading, he replied "guilty" to each count.

A barrister for the prosecution said the sentence hearing would take about an hour.

He said members of the Grimes family were present in court, including the deceased's mother, Catherine.

Judge O'Connor said the family was welcome to attend and extended her condolences for their loss.

Mrs Grimes was using a wheelchair and in poor health, the prosecutor said, and asked the judge to fix a sentence date "sooner rather than later".

The judge then told the acc-used he could sit down as the hearing date was discussed.

Dominic McGinn, defending, said the defence required reports including a psychological assessment and would endeavour to get them ahead of the sentence hearing.

However, it "may take some time", he added.

Time was a factor for the Grimes family, the prosecutor said, and he asked for the sentence hearing date to be soon.

Mrs Grimes was "most anxious" to attend, he said.

The judge said she would endeavour to put the hearing into the current legal term and listed it for December 6 to "see how it can proceed on that date".

The accused was remanded on continuing bail and was not required to further address the court.

Bail had been granted in Balbriggan District Court when the accused was originally charged in November 2017.

There had been no garda objection at the time, on condition that Keane surrendered his passport and signed on weekly at a garda station.

He was sent forward to the circuit court from Swords District Court in December 2017.

Mr Grimes, who was from St Catherine's estate, Rush, died in Beaumont Hospital in July 2017, seven months after he was found on the side of the Skerries to Loughshinny road.

At the time he was knocked down, he was walking home after he had been socialising in a bar in Skerries but was unable to get a taxi.

He was only metres from the path to his house when he was hit.

A breadman who was making deliveries found Mr Grimes unconscious with serious injuries, and a local nurse helped give him first aid before emergency services arrived.

Speaking last year, Mrs Grimes and her husband Mark said they had decided to donate their son's organs for transplant when it was discovered he would not survive.

Tough

"I'm happy that five families got the miracle that we prayed for. It didn't happen for, us but he gave them life," Mr Grimes said at the time.

Mrs Grimes added that while it was a tough decision, she knew organ donation was what Callum would have wanted.

He went through 15 operations over the course of 200 days after the incident before going into cardiac arrest and dying.

His parents paid tribute to their only son, speaking of how warmly he has been remembered by his three sisters, extended family and many friends.

He was a talented rapper, poet and chef and was devoted to his long-term girlfriend Aisling McKeown, they said.

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