Trial of man charged with dangerous driving causing eight deaths adjourned until April

Tuesday 28 January 2014 20.53
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Shaun Kelly has been charged with dangerous driving causing death
Shaun Kelly has been charged with dangerous driving causing death
Eight people died in the crash in July 2010
Eight people died in the crash in July 2010

The trial of a man charged with dangerous driving causing eight deaths, which was due to start next Tuesday, has been adjourned until April.

Letterkenny Circuit Court was told that the State was applying for the adjournment in the case of Shaun Kelly after receiving a psychological report on him last night.

Mr Kelly, 24, of Hill Road in Buncrana has been charged with dangerous driving causing the deaths of eight men in a crash near Clonmany in Co Donegal in July 2010.

Prosecuting barrister Patricia McLoughlin told Judge Keenan Johnson that she had been furnished in relation to two very serious matters, psychological and engineering reports.

Judge Johnson said it was "somewhat bizarre" that the medical report had only been handed over this month, when it was the defence that had asked for the case to be specially fixed for 4 February.

However, defence barrister Peter Nolan said his client had been constantly assessed since March 2011. A second report had arrived last week.

"We have to act on the medical evidence we have been given, it is a changing picture," said Mr Nolan.

"The issue will be one of fitness to stand trial.

"We are now being given a certain set of facts which I am not going to open to the court. My client is entitled to a fair trial."

Ms McLaughlin said the prosecution would not now be in a position to go ahead with the trial as it would need to have Mr Kelly medically assessed.

The judge adjourned the hearing until 1 April to deal with the "fitness to plead" issue.

The crash happened at Meenaduff between Buncrana and Clonmany on 11 July 2010.

The men who died in the crash were: Hugh Friel, 66, Urris, Clonmany; Eamon McDaid, 22, of Ballymagan, Buncrana; Mark McLaughlin, 21, of Ballinahone, Fahan; Paul Doherty, 19, of Ardagh, Ballyliffin; Ciaran Sweeney, 19, of Ballyliffin; PJ McLaughlin, 21, of Rockstown, Burnfoot; James McEleney, 23, of Meenaduff, Clonmany; and Damien McLaughlin, 21, of Umricam, Buncrana.