A Luas driver accused of driving his tram in a manner dangerous to the safety of the public has been acquitted by direction of the judge at his trial at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
39-year-old Oriyomi Emmanuel from Jamestown Park, Ratoath in Co Meath had been accused of driving his Luas into a junction on O'Connell Street without a signal to proceed. He had denied the charge.
Mr Emmanuel walked free from court after the jury at his trial was directed to find him not guilty because of a discrepancy between two pieces of evidence.
He had been charged with driving his Luas in a dangerous manner on the afternoon of 16 September 2009.
He drove into the junction of Middle Abbey Street and O'Connell Street and collided with the middle of a number 16 double decker bus. More than 20 people were injured.
The court heard Mr Emmanuel had been extraordinarily proud of his job, had an immaculate safety record and was very popular with his colleagues.
When he was arrested he insisted he had a proceed signal when he drove into the junction and broke down crying when shown that CCTV footage showed a signal to stop.
The court heard yesterday that an internal report on the incident by the Luas operator Veolia suggested a nearby electrical pole could have cast a vertical reflection on the signal.
The court also heard evidence that there was a cover above the signal and that this could have cast a shadow over it.
The court heard this shadow would have become worse as the tram passed over the stop line and towards the junction.
The court heard evidence about a garda reconstruction of the crash and about data from onboard the Luas about how close the tram was to the signal when it stopped at the junction.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring said there was a discrepancy of more than a metre between the two pieces of evidence.
This meant the jury would have to speculate about how close Mr Emmanuel was to the signal and she ruled this would be unsafe. She directed the jury to find him not guilty.
The judge said she did not take this decision lightly as it was such a serious case.
As she gave her direction, Mr Emmanuel cried and held his head in his hands before blessing himself.
He did not comment as he left court.