Bus firm guilty of breaching health and safety law

Thursday 28 March 2013 11.06
The bus went out of control on a bog road outside Clara in Co Offaly
The bus went out of control on a bog road outside Clara in Co Offaly

A vehicle testing company has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws in relation to the testing of a school bus, which was involved in a fatal crash almost seven years ago.

The jury of ten men and two women found the company O'Reilly Commercials Ltd of Ballinalach in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, guilty on one count.

The bus went out of control on a bog road outside Clara in Co Offaly in April 2006.

The back axle came away and the bus flipped over.

Michael White, 15, was under the bus and died from catastrophic injuries.

After six-and-a-half hours, the jury returned not guilty verdicts on three of the four counts relating to the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act in connection with the inspection of the bus between 5 and 6 August 2005.

At that point Judge Margaret Heneghan gave the jurors more time to deliberate and said she would accept a majority verdict on the remaining count.

After deliberating for seven hours and 48 minutes as to whether the company failed in its duty or care to fail to note the modified rear suspension in the vehicle, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of 11 to one.

The case is due back before the court on 15 April when a date will be set for sentencing.