Student’s account of death crash ‘does not fit evidence’, court hears

John Fahy
John Fahy

The trial of a former University of Ulster student accused of causing the death of a toddler in a fatal crash just over two years ago has heard he was attempting to blame the child’s mother for the tragic accident.

However, prosecution QC Liam McCollum told the Dungannon Crown Court jury of six men and six women that 25-year-old John Fahy’s claim “does simply not add up, or fit any of the evidence”.

Ryan and Katriona Cox

Ryan and Katriona Cox

Fahy, from Groagagh Grange in Sligo, denies causing the death of 19-month-old baby Ryan Cox by driving without due care and attention on the Boa Island Road outside Belleek in Fermanagh on January 14, 2013.

The architectural student – who was seriously injured in the smash himself – also denies causing grievous bodily injury to Ryan’s mother, Katriona by his careless driving.

Trial judge Madam Justice McBride and the jury also heard prosecution claims that the “objective evidence” would prove that it was Fahy’s Renault Megan car which had been the wrong side of the Bow Island Road when it collided with Mrs Cox’s Peugot 307 car, and not the other way round.

Mr McCollum said that shortly before 4pm that January afternoon Mrs Cox, with baby Ryan strapped in his baby seat, had travelled just over a mile from their home when their car was in collision with that of Fahy’s.

The lawyer told the court it was the prosecution case that as Fahy was driving around a left hand bend, near the entrance of Castle Caldwell Forest Park, he lost control of his car, and or, by over steering, ended up on the wrong side of the road and collided with Mrs Cox’s car.

His driving, said Mr McCollum, fell far below what would have been expected from a competent and careful driver, while Mrs Cox was on the correct side of the road, and that objective factors would show Fahy was on the wrong side when their vehicles impacted.

“The impact between the two vehicles occurred on the wrong side of the road for the defendant and on the right side of the road of Mrs Cox,” claimed Mr McCollum who added that gouges and debris on the road allegedly supported this.

The prosecution lawyer also told the jury “all the objective evidence” showed the accident was caused “by the defendant going on the wrong side of the road” and by the end of the case they would have no difficulty in convicting Fahy of careless driving.

Mr McCollum said while Mrs Cox had no memory of the tragic events, Fahy attempted “to blame her (Mrs Cox) for the accident”.

Fahy, the court heard when interviewed by police claimed “the last thing I remember being in my lane doing about 45 to 50 mph”, and that as he rounded the corner he remembered seeing Mrs Cox “trying to correct” her position and get back into her own lane.

Then when asked by police was he suggesting that Mrs Cox was in the wrong lane, the student answered: “Yes”.

Mr McCollum said that the student was “making the case he was on his own side of the road and Mrs Cox was on the wrong side of the road”.

The prosecution lawyer told the jury while they would have to make their own minds up about the issue of who caused the accident, it was the Crown case that Fahy’s “account does simply not add up or fit any of the evidence”.

The trial, expected to last at least a week, continues on Friday.