Motorist who admitted causing the death of his brother (11) is spared jail
A Carryduff motorist whose younger brother was killed in a collision while the family were on holiday was spared jail yesterday after he admitted causing the fatal crash.
Crown Court Judge Stephen Fowler told 27-year-old Christopher Ian Curran "the punishment of the court pales into insignificance compared to the suffering your family has gone through".
Curran, from Baronscourt Road, admitted a charge of causing the death of his 11-year-old brother Jamie Foat by driving without due care and attention on April 1, 2015.
The father-of-one was placed on 12-months probation and was banned from driving for a year.
The fatal collision occurred on the Lough Shore Road in Enniskillen while three generations of the family were holidaying in Donegal.
Curran, who sustained serious injuries after losing control of the blue A3 he was driving, cannot recall what happened - but it was accepted there was a "small error" and he lost control of the vehicle.
The defendant and the deceased were half-brothers, and their mother sat in the public gallery at Dungannon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast. Branding the accident as "dreadful", Judge Fowler addressed her directly and said he had read a letter she provided to the court.
Saying the death of her son Jamie would have been "heart-rendering for you", the Judge told the Carryduff woman: "This is a tragedy for everyone concerned."
Prosecuting barrister Jackie Orr QC said the fatal collision occurred when Curran was 23. The family had been on holiday, and on the day in question Curran was driving on the Lough Shore Road between Enniskillen and Belleek when he lost control of the Audi and collided with a white Peugeot van.
The van's driver sustained a bruised sternum, while the two brothers were seriously injured.
An off-duty policeman offered assistance at the scene, and when the emergency services arrived Jamie - who had been in the front seat - was removed from the badly damaged vehicle via the sunroof.
He was rushed to hospital, and pronounced dead on April 4 following the withdrawal of his treatment with the consent of his parents.
Curran remained in hospital for several days and was treated for serious injuries including the removal of his spleen and multiple fractures to his spine and ribs. When Curran was interviewed by police in June 2015 and again the following April, he said he couldn't remember anything about it, he didn't know why it had happened and could offer no further explanation.
Ms Orr said there was no suggestion of aggravating factors such as excessive speed, alcohol or drugs, or mobile phone use.
Defence barrister David McDowell QC spoke of the tragedy of the case, saying Curran had to live with the fact his younger brother Jamie died as a result of a mistake he made.
Pointing out Curran accepted his responsibility, Mr McDowell said: "The court cannot impose a punishment greater than has already been imposed - and that is the loss of his brother."