herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Driver charged with perjury in bus crash case

BATTLE: Witness also accused after collision in which two passengers sued for damages

THE driver of a car that was involved in a collision with a Dublin Bus has been charged with perjury at a High Court hearing into the incident.

John Smith is accused of perjuring himself and instructing a witness in the case, David Cox to do the same.

Cox in turn is also facing a perjury charge arising from the 2006 hearing into an accident that happened in 2001.

The case was adjourned at Dublin District Court following legal arguments by the prosecution and barristers for the defence.

Smith (50), of Annaville Grove, Dundrum, and Cox (45), of Broomhall Avenue, Rathnew, Co Wicklow, are both denying the charges.

Dublin District Court heard the case arose from a traffic accident involving a bus and another vehicle in "Mr Smith was driving the vehicle and there was an impact between himself and the Dublin Bus," defence barrister Eoin Lawlor said.

There were no other vehicles involved and the incident resulted in civil proceedings being brought at Dublin Circuit Court against the bus company and Mr Smith. Two passengers in the bus at the time of the crash brought the proceedings.

At the circuit court hearing, Smith gave evidence but Cox did not and the outcome "went against Mr Smith on liability".

A decision was then made by Smith's insurers to appeal that decision to the High Court. At that hearing, on February 20, 2006, Cox was called as to give evidence for the defence.

As a result of the case, liability was found to attach to Dublin Bus, not Mr Smith

The prosecution are now alleging that Cox did not witness the accident, while the defence insists he did.





Conviction

There were no criminal prosecutions following the accident and while details were taken by gardai at the scene, they carried out no formal investigation into it.

The defence have alleged that a key witness in the perjury case, Hugh O'Donnell, was induced to give evidence by the prosecution.

They allege the prosecution agreed not to contest an appeal he brought against an unrelated district court conviction for assaulting Cox. As a result his appeal succeeded and that conviction was quashed.

Mr Lawlor argued that this alleged arrangement would colour Mr O'Donnell's evidence and lead to the threat of an unfair trial.

He said the State had refused to comment on this.

The State Solicitor said the DPP had directed that the appeal be allowed and he did not have to explain his decisions.

The defence is now seeking disclosure of additional documents and Judge Hugh O'Donnell adjourned the case to September.

hnews@herald.ie

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