Garda to face trial over crash on N7 which left three men dead

A garda accused of endangering life during an incident where three men died in a collision on the N7 in Co Dublin must face trial before a Circuit Court judge and jury.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had directed charges after the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) investigated the fatal crash which claimed the life of three members of a Tallaght-based gang.

Dean Maguire (29), Karl Freeman (26), and Graham Taylor (31), died instantly when the car they were in burst into flames following a head-on crash with a truck between Citywest and Baldonnel on July 7th, 2021. They had been driving on the wrong side of the N7 while fleeing from gardaí.

Garda John Francis Ryan, of Tallaght Garda station, is accused of endangerment of life and three counts of dangerous driving. He was first summonsed to Dublin District Court in June, and the matter was adjourned to October when the court ordered the prosecution to hand over the relevant material, including video footage.

The proceedings were listed again for mention on Monday, but the officer was excused from attending because the hearing was for administrative purposes.

State solicitor Tom Conlon told Judge Michele Finan that “the DPP directed summary disposal on a guilty plea” in the District Court. Otherwise, it would go to the Circuit Court, which, on conviction, has broader sentencing powers.

“The position is that a book of evidence is required,” Mr Conlon added.

Judge Finan adjourned the case until June 26th so that the prosecution could serve a book of evidence on the accused and to make an order sending him forward to the higher court because he was contesting the case.

The garda’s solicitor was present for the latest development in the case, and some relatives of the deceased watched from the public gallery.

The dangerous driving incidents allegedly occurred at Brookfield Road, the N82 Citywest roundabout and Cheeverstown Road.

The endangerment of life charge alleges Garda Ryan drove westwards on the eastwards auxiliary lane between Rathcoole and Citywest in a reckless manner, which posed substantial risk of death or serious injury to a member of the public. That offence is under section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Persons Act.

At his first hearing on June 28th, his solicitor sought disclosure of prosecution evidence “with any CCTV footage”, and a Gsoc officer said there would be compliance.

The court has also ordered the media not to publish the garda’s address.

A coroner’s inquest into the three men’s deaths has already been opened but adjourned pending the outcome of the judicial process.

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