Man charged with impeding prosecution of his son in Kerry hit and run

Gavel 1A 71 year old man has been charged with attempting to impede the prosecution of his son for dangerous driving causing the death of a father of four in a hit and run near Gneeveguilla four years ago.

Dan Joe Fitzgerald was charged on Friday with attempting to impede the prosecution of his son, Shane on a charge of dangerous driving causing the death of 42 year old Paudie O’Leary on July 1st 2012.

Mr O’Leary was out for a training cycle at 5am on the day in question when he was struck and knocked off his bike at Scrahanfada near Gneeveguilla by a Toyota Landcruiser that failed to stop.

His body was later found by relatives searching for him and gardai began an investigation to try and identify the hit and run driver who fatally injured Mr O’Leary but failed to stop or report the matter.

In March 2015, Shane Fitzgerald, who had denied any involvement in the incident, was convicted of dangerous driving causing the death of Mr O’Leary after a trial at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court.

Fitzgerald was sentenced to six and a half years in jail for the offence by Judge Thomas O’Donnell who suspended the final 18 months of the jail sentence and he banned him from driving.

Yesterday, Dan Joe Fitzgerald of Upper Knockeen, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork appeared before Cork District Court where he was charged with attempting to impede a Garda prosecution.
The charge stated that he knowing or believing Shane Fitzgerald to be guilty of dangerous driving causing death did act with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of Shane Fitzgerald.

The offence, which is contrary to Section 7 (2) of the Criminal Law Act and carries a penalty of up to ten years, is alleged to have happened at a place unknown between July 1st and July 13th 2012.

Insp Fergal Foley said the Director of Public Prosecution had directed trial on indictment and that time was needed for preparation of a book of evidence and he applied for an adjournment.

Judge Malone said he was reserving a decision on free legal aid until Gardai made a full inquiry into the statement of means submitted by Mr Fitzgerald in support of his free legal application

Judge Malone remanded Mr Fitzgerald, who did not speak during the brief hearing, on bail on his own bond of €500 to appear again before Cork District Court on December 15th next.