Bus driver convicted of causing cyclist’s death loses appeal

Counsel for Osborn Irabor (60) argued that legal terms used by judge caused jury difficulty

Osborn Irabor was in 2018 found guilty of careless driving causing the death of Mary White on November 17th, 2014. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Osborn Irabor was in 2018 found guilty of careless driving causing the death of Mary White on November 17th, 2014. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A bus driver who was found to have caused a cyclist’s death has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Osborn Irabor (60), of French Park, Tyrrelstown, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing the death of Mary White (55) on November 17th, 2014.

Ms White died two days after the collision of the head injuries she had sustained.

Irabor was convicted at Dublin Circuit Criminal court in October 2018 and disqualified from driving for four years. His lawyers later claimed that the trial judge did not explain legal terms to the jury in a way they could understand.

At an appeal hearing in January, Patrick Gageby SC, for Irabor, said that after being sent to deliberate the jury had returned and asked the judge to “elaborate in layman’s terms” some legal principles in the case.

Mr Gageby said Judge Francis Comerford then re-charged the jury using legal rather than layman’s terms such as “appreciable”, “due care and attention” and “prudent”.

“The amount of legal language which surrounded this was, it would appear, causing the jury some difficulties,” he said.

Mr Gageby also asked the court to consider what his client did that demonstrated that he fell below the standard of care and attention that would be expected of a reasonably competent driver. There was, he said, no suggestion that he was using a phone or talking to someone or doing anything else that might have distracted him from driving.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Irabor’s attempt to have the conviction overturned, ruling that “no requisitions were raised by either side arising out of the re-charge”.

Supported by evidence

The written judgement, delivered by Mr Justice John Edwards, also stated the court was satisfied that the verdict “was one that was open to the jury in circumstances where there was evidence capable of supporting it”.

“We reject without hesitation any suggestion that the verdict was perverse on the basis that it was contrary to the evidence and the weight of the evidence,” the judge said. “On the contrary, this was far from a marginal case. There was a collision between a bus and a cyclist which had caused the death of the cyclist.”

The judge also said that the prosecution had presented “clear evidence” that Irabor’s double-decker bus had appeared to cut the corner when turning before knocking Ms White off her bicycle at a T-junction on Burlington Road, Dublin 4, at 9.40pm.

In a victim impact statement, her mother Peg White said her daughter had spent 35 years cycling around Dublin and was meticulous on the roads.

She said suggestions during the trial that her daughter was at fault were hard on the family, though she accepted defence lawyers were doing their job.