Fermanagh man Keenan accused of causing death of motorcyclist Brian Lynch goes on trial
A 54-year-old Fermanagh man has gone on trial accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist during an incident in which it is alleged occurred in the process of an overtaking manoeuvre.
Joseph Keenan of Lawnkilla Park, Enniskillen appeared in the dock of Dungannon Crown Court yesterday charged with careless driving.
He has denied the charge.
Brian Bernard Peter Lynch (48) died during the incident which took place on November 15, 2014, at the A5 Belfast Road, Enniskillen.
Mr Lynch, a father-of-four, also from Enniskillen, was riding his Kawasaki ZX1200 motorcycle which was in collision with a Vauxhall Vectra, being driven by the accused. The victim died from his injuries a few days later.
The court heard both vehicles were travelling in the direction of Enniskillen shortly before 5pm on the day in question, with the victim positioned behind the defendant's car.
Keenan was returning home from a football match in Maguiresbridge and had three passengers on board.
At a point in the road, he encountered a slow-moving vehicle and waited until what he believed was an appropriate time to overtake.
The prosecution allege that when Keenan pulled out, there was a collision and Mr Lynch was thrown from his motorcycle.
The prosecution said: "During (police) interview the defendant says he heard 'a thud'. We say that was the collision.
"He stated he did not know if Brian Lynch had lost control of his motorcycle on the bend, or if Brian Lynch was 'going too hard'. But he was at pains to point out he never had Brian Lynch 'in his mirrors'. He did say his car was powerful and 'went like lightning'.
"We say he never glanced over his shoulder to check before moving out and the manner he did pull out did not comply with the Highway Code. He gave no thought to the motorcyclist or to a blind spot."
A police officer told the court he arrived on the scene just as an ambulance was pulling away.
The officer confirmed Keenan approached of his own volition.
Keenan provided his details and took part in a routine alcohol breath test which returned a reading of zero.
Under defence cross-examination, the officer confirmed Keenan "had made it clear he was in the process of an overtaking manoeuvre".
Another officer told the court he arrived on the scene within 25 minutes of the report, and Mr Lynch had already been taken to hospital. It was dark and whilst not raining, the ground was damp. The motorcycle was lying in the grass verge "extensively damaged".
He spoke with Keenan who pointed out where the impact had occurred, and showed him scratches on the rear passenger door of his car. The officer cautioned Keenan at 6pm, and advised he was not under arrest and did not have to remain at the scene if he did not wish to.
In response to the officer's questions Keenan confirmed he had been driving the car, that he had no medical conditions which could impair his driving and that there was no mechanical fault with his car, which had only recently passed the MoT.
On being asked to outline what happened, Keenan told the officer: "I was coming over the brow of the hill, tucked in behind a car doing 45-50 (mph). I overtook. I was in the overtaking (lane) when next thing I heard was a bang. I saw the motorbike on my right hand side. It was very shaky, wobbling all over. Then he collided with the kerb, over the grass verge and then collided with the fence. I parked up and we (his passengers) ran back to see if we could help him."
Under cross-examination the officer confirmed Keenan was co-operative, provided answers to questions, and remained at the scene.
Next to give evidence was a farmer who had been driving along the same stretch of road prior to the incident.
He explained he had been overtaken by the Vauxhall Vectra - later found to be driven by Keenan - who had "cut in very sharply" after the manoeuvre, causing him to brake hard.
Keenan, who denies the charge, was released on existing bail.
The trial continues.