herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

'It was an accident', says truck driver charged after man killed in 'hit-and-run'

Gerard Whyte (21) was killed
Gerard Whyte (21) was killed

A truck driver has been charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Gerard Whyte (21) in Whitehall in the early hours of Friday.

Prince Aibangbe (50), of Williams Way in Ongar, Dublin 15, was brought before Dublin District Court at the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday where he was charged before Judge John Cheatle.

Garda David Jordan gave evidence that after the incident, images and video of the truck they were trying to trace were circulated in the media and came to the attention of Mr Aibangbe's employer, who in turn contacted gardai in Bray.

Gardai then met with Mr Aibangbe and his employer by arrangement at his place of employment in Blackchurch on the Naas Road.

Gardai seized the truck Mr Aibangbe had been driving and on Saturday night he was charged with dangerous driving causing death. The court heard that, when charged, Mr Aibangbe replied: "It happened yesterday, it was an accident."

Gardai objected to bail. Mr Aibangbe's solicitor Rory Staines said that his client is a father-of-eight, four of whom are in his native Nigeria and four are of school-going age and living with his former partner in Malahide.

"He has been driving trucks for 31 years and has never before been involved in an accident. He is two to three years with his current employer," said Mr Staines.

Disputed

Mr Aibangbe's former partner and family were in court. He has applied for Irish citizenship, which has not yet been granted.

Mr Staines said his client has indicated that he did not realise that he had been involved in an incident.

Gda Jordan said that Mr Aibangbe fled the scene, but this was disputed by Mr Staines.

Mr Staines said that if bail was not granted his client could spend some time in custody as it would take time to prepare the case, which was likely to be heard in a higher court on indictment.

He said his client has significant ties to this jurisdiction.

Judge Cheatle granted bail on condition that Mr Aibangbe provide his own bond of €5,000, with half to be lodged in cash.

He also has to sign on every day in Blanchardstown Garda Station, provide a telephone number for gardai, and surrender his passport. He was remanded in custody with consent to bail to appear in court at the CCJ again next Friday.

Mr Aibangbe, wearing a green hoodie and blue tracksuit bottoms, remained silent during the hearing.

Mr Whyte, who was from Ballymun, died after being rushed to Beaumont Hospital following the incident, which happened on the Swords Road, Whitehall, at the Collins Avenue junction shortly after midnight on Thursday night.

Mr Aibangbe failed to remain at the scene.

Garda forensic investigators examined the scene and made an appeal for information from the public.

They also issued a photograph and video footage of the truck they were searching for.

The truck was turning left from the Swords Road on to Collins Avenue when Mr Whyte was knocked down.

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