Crash victim's father
questions trial delay
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
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 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.