Driver jailed over cyclist death is to face retrial
The Court of Appeal yesterday quashed the conviction of a businessman jailed for causing the death of a top Irish road cyclist by dangerous driving.
Senior judges instead ordered Michael Croome to face a retrial over the events which led to David McCall being killed.
Mr McCall (46), a Commonwealth Games medallist, was fatally injured as he raced with a group of cyclists on the Belfast Road at Nutts Corner, Co Antrim, in August 2008.
Croome (28), with addresses at Cliftonville Road, Belfast, and Priory Warf, Chester, had been rushing to catch a plane at the time.
He denied causing the death of the Lisburn-based cyclist by dangerous driving.
It was claimed a small black dog forced the victim's bike to swerve into the path of his car.
Croome was jailed for five years and banned from driving for five years in March last year.
But appealing against the conviction and sentence, his lawyers argued there were enough “divergences” between the witness accounts to create a lurking sense of unease or doubt about the verdict.
Orlando Pownall QC said: “These differences, we submit, went to the very root of the prosecution case.”
He added: “There was no firm foundation for the suggestion that the appellant overtook in a dangerous manner and at a time when there was another oncoming vehicle.”
Following submissions, the judges hearing the appeal, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justices Higgins and Coghlin, quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial.
Full reasons are expected to be set out in a later judgment. But the decision was based in part on an alternative, lesser count of causing death by careless driving not having been put to the jury.
Croome was released on bail until the new hearing starts.
Mr McCall worked as a civil servant and also jointly ran Sportactive, which organises cycling and walking holidays.
He was a member of the Maryland Wheelers club in Lisburn, winning cycling honours in Europe and Ireland. Following his death his club established a charitable foundation in his name.