Tragic crash | 

Canadian lawyer charged over death of Kildare motorcyclist was on 'holiday of a lifetime'

Mr Hardy said he was on holiday with his girlfriend and her grandmother (94), whose lifelong ambition was to visit Ireland. They were both passengers in the car

Crash victim Ollie Heslin

Sian Moloughney

A lawyer charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist told a court yesterday that he was taking the holiday of a lifetime from his home in Canada when the collision occurred.

Father-of-three Ollie Heslin (42), of Castleroe, Maganey, Co Kildare, died when a car collided with him during a charity event about 4.50pm last Saturday at Blanchfield Park, in Clifden, Co Kilkenny.

Two other motorcyclists who were seriously injured in the collision were taken to University Hospital Waterford where their conditions are described as stable.

James Hardy, of Wright Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, appeared before Kilkenny District Court yesterday, where he was charged with dangerous driving causing death.

The court heard Mr Hardy, a UK citizen, told gardaí he was not tired, drunk or on his phone when the collision occurred.

Mr Hardy told the court that he was on a holiday of a lifetime with his girlfriend and her 94-year-old grandmother, whose lifelong ambition was to visit Ireland having lived all her life in America.

His girlfriend and her grandmother were passengers in the car.

Mr Hardy told the court what happened was tragic and he extended his condolences to the dead man's family.

He said he had been in the UK for a wedding and had taken the opportunity to bring his girlfriend's grandmother to Ireland. They visited cathedrals in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Kilkenny.

Sean Rafter BL, for Mr Hardy, said his client is a lawyer in Toronto with very strong ties to the UK, where his parents and brothers live.

Garda Joseph Reville confirmed he had made a cursory inspection of Mr Hardy's phone, which he had surrendered to gardaí, and Mr Hardy had not been using it at the time of the accident.

The garda confirmed a roadside breath test had shown Mr Hardy was not intoxicated.

Mr Rafter said his client was travelling from Kilkenny to Paulstown. There was a car stationary on the road, waiting to turn right.

Coming towards them, on the other side of the road, was "a cavalcade of motorcycles", Mr Rafter said. It was a charity event.

Garda Reville said Mr Hardy was driving a black Skoda Fabia on the R712 when it was in collision with a Kawasaki motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle sustained "catastrophic injuries" and died.

He said he had collected numerous witness statements, and the case would include a forensic scene examination report, allegations of excess speed and overtaking on the incorrect side of the road.

Judge Geraldine Carthy granted Mr Hardy bail until next Tuesday on his own bond of €50,000 with a cash lodgement of €30,000 and an independent surety of €50,000.

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