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Crash victim's father questions trial delay 04.11.08

A BUNCRANA man has questioned a judge about the delay in bringing to trial a man charged with dangerous driving causing the deaths of his son and four friends in a horrific crash over three years ago.
Patrick Quinn stood up in a packed Letterkenny Circuit Court last week and asked Judge John O'Hagan why Derryman Brendan Henderson had still not been tried in relation to the accident at Cross, Quigley's Point, on October 8, 2005. The 49 year old defendant from Seven Oaks, Waterside, was the sole survivor of the crash that claimed the lives of Darren Quinn, 21, his cousin Gavin Duffy, 21, Rochelle Peoples, 22, Charlene O’Connor, 21 and David Steele, 23.
During last Tuesday's hearing, the case was adjourned until the 'next term' meaning either December, but more realistically February 2009 or later, given the current backlog of cases
Brendan Henderson leaving Carn court earlier this year.
in the district.
Defence barrister Peter Nolan BL., asked for his client to be excused from the next hearing on the grounds that he is a wheelchair user.
This was granted by Judge O'Hagan, who remanded the accused on continuing bail.
However, a short time later, Patrick Quinn stood up from the gallery and asked if he could address the judge on the matter.
"My son and nephew were killed in the crash. We want to know when this case is going to be heard," he said. "This is its fourth time on the list. It's been in the district court twice and the circuit court twice. Can you not give a date, are you not in charge?" he asked. Judge O'Hagan acknowledged that delays caused a “lot of upset”. But he said the defendant had only been charged with the offence this year.
"This is an 2008 indictment and it has to take its place in the queue," said the judge, to which Mr Quinn replied: "That wasn't our fault".
To illustrate, Judge O'Hagan referred to a similar case that only recently made it to trial in Donegal Town, two years after the charges were brought. He sympathised with Mr Quinn and the other families and said he would do his best to hear the case as soon as possible. Patrick Quinn told the court that some members of the families involved intended emigrating to the US and Australia but couldn’t do so while the trial was still pending. Judge O'Hagan noted his remarks: "Thank you for talking to me. We can now, at least, record your concerns," he said.
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