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unanimous verdict Kildare motorist found not guilty over death of cyclist

Speaking outside the courthouse, the deceased's sister remarked: “I just feel there’s no justice for Tonya. It’s not fair. We have to live every day with this grief.”

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Kevin Hutchinson from Robertstown West, Co Kildare. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Kevin Hutchinson from Robertstown West, Co Kildare. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Kevin Hutchinson from Robertstown West, Co Kildare. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

A Kildare motorist has been found not guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of a cyclist who was part of a group of riders from a Dublin cycling club.

A jury of seven men and four women acquitted Kevin Hutchinson of dangerous driving causing the death of Tonya McEvoy on February 12, 2017 at Rathcoffey, Co Kildare at the end of a five-day trial at Naas Circuit Criminal Court.

Hutchinson (29), a father of one of Robertstown West, Robertstown, Co Kildare who works in the family window business, had pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The fatal collision occurred while Ms McEvoy (34) a childcare worker from Moyville, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, was on the return leg of a training cycle to Maynooth with a group of 16 riders from the Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club in Dundrum.

Lawyers for the defendant claimed that he was forced to cross over the white line in the middle of the road as he came around a bend to avoid cars parked illegally on his side of the road by mass-goers attending a nearby church.

They also pointed out that a forensic report into the collision by gardaí showed that Ms McEvoy was already either falling from her bicycle or lying on the ground by the time she was struck by the accused’s 05-reg Audi A4.

The report indicated that the point of impact between the vehicle and the victim was near the line in the middle of the road.

Several members of the Orwell Wheelers club, who were in the same group as Ms McEvoy, gave evidence that Mr Hutchinson had crossed over a continuous white line onto their side of the road as he came around the bend.

A number of witnesses claimed that the accused was driving at speed and did not appear to slow down.

Several cyclists described how they felt the vehicle was very close to hitting their group.

When questioned by gardaí, Hutchinson maintained that he had returned to his side of the road before the fatal collision.

The accused’s partner, Jessica Donohoe, who was a passenger in the car, said she had seen “a wobble” among the group of cyclists just before the impact.

After deliberating for just over an hour, the jury returned a unanimous 11-0 verdict that Mr Hutchinson was not guilty of dangerous driving causing death.

The jurors also returned a unanimous verdict of “not guilty” for the alternative finding of careless driving causing death.

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Addressing the court, Judge Patrick Quinn said it was a case of “no winners”

Offering his condolences to the victim’s relatives, the judge noted that Ms McEvoy had enjoyed “a very good albeit short life.”

“Sadly there is nothing that can bring her back” he added.

Outside the courthouse, Ms McEvoy’s brother, Brian expressed disappointment with the verdict but welcomed the closure that the ending of the trial would bring his family.

“I feel we were let down today. I don’t think the injuries my sister sustained justified the outcome,” said Mr McEvoy, “She sustained substantial injuries. I think careless driving causing death should have been the minimum finding as all the cyclists claimed he was over on their side of the road.”

He continued: “The driver was over his side of the line. The obstacles were on his side and it was his job to stop.”

Fighting back tears, her sister, Ciara remarked: “I just feel there’s no justice for Tonya. It’s not fair. We have to live every day with this grief.”

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