Farmer in court over father’s road death

A farmer from Co. Tyrone has been accused of causing the death of his father through “dangerous driving” in Dungannon Crown Court this week.

Paul Brady appeared before the court following the death of his 69-year-old father, Phelim, when a lorry collided with a tractor and trailer that was being driven by Paul in June 2014, according to the Irish Times.

Brady is accused of dangerous driving as a result of allowing his father to travel on the drawbar of the trailer, which was where he was standing when the accident occurred on the Woodlough A4 dual carriageway between Caledon and Dungannon.

In addition, Brady is accused of driving without insurance while being disqualified.

Also accused of dangerous driving is the lorry driver from the collision, William Mark Murphy from Co. Down.

The prosecution for the case, led by Peter Irvine, accuses both men of causing Brady’s death by dangerous driving – a charge both men deny, the Irish Times added.

The court heard that when interviewed by police after the accident, Paul Brady said he had not wanted to drive the tractor – but only agreed after his father asked him to help transport cattle to Dungannon mart. After the accident Brady told police: “I told him he shouldn’t be on the drawbar.”

Irvine conceded that it was evident that Brady did not want his father travelling in such a manner but stressed: “It is also clear that is what happened, and his father rode upon this drawbar as the trailer was being driven along and did so for a distance of 10 miles from the Brady farm to where the collision occurred.”

Irvine reportedly added that by allowing his father to stand on the draw bar, Brady’s driving fell well short of what would have been expected from a careful and competent driver – and that it would have been clear to such a driver that this was “inherently dangerous”.

In Murphy’s case, Irvine said that the driver told police that as he drew close to the Bradys’ tractor he slowed and was about to overtake it when he was forced to stay behind by a speeding car overtaking him.

The prosecuting solicitor claimed that Murphy, whose estimated speed was approximately 56mph (90kph), had driven into the back of the trailer at “significant speed”.

Irvine noted that regardless of whether or not he had abandoned his overtaking plan, he had failed to “alter his speed to accommodate the slower-driven tractor”.

He said that such driving dropped “far below the standard of a careful and competent driver”, adding that the prosecution says “that amounts to dangerous driving”.

The trial, described by the prosecution as a “particularly tragic case“, resumes today and is expected to continue on into next week.

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