Jury begins deliberations at trial of woman accused of careless driving cause death of teenager

A jury at the Tralee Circuit Criminal Court has begun its deliberations at the trial of a woman accused of careless driving causing the death of a 14-year-old girl.

Caitlin Taylor of Slí na gCrann, Gouldshill, Mallow, died from injuries she sustained in the single vehicle accident at Knockeenahone, Scartaglin on June 15th, 2014.

The driver of the car, Sarah O’Connell from Seán Moylan Park, Mallow, Co Cork, denies the charge.

Caitlin Taylor lost her life when she was ejected from the Toyota Yaris in which she was a front-seat passenger.

The car left the road and mounted a ditch before somersaulting a number of times after entering a field that was at a lower level than the road.

Neither the driver nor her passenger was restrained at the time, although the defence maintained Ms O’Connell was wearing her seat belt.

Ms O’Connell’s 18-month-old daughter, who was tied into a booster seat, was unharmed.

In her statement that was read into evidence by prosecuting counsel, Tom Rice, the Assistant State Pathologist said the cause of death was a severe upper spinal cord injury sustained in a road traffic accident; she said death would have been immediate.

In his charge, Judge Thomas O’Donnell, told the jury it was important they consider the evidence and not the consequences of their verdict.

He said they had to disregard their sympathy for either party and approach the evidence in a cold, dispassionate manner.

The judge also instructed the jury members they had to be unanimous in their decision.