Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Driver wins fatal crash appeal case

A Newtownhamilton man who was convicted of causing the death of his friend in a road accident more than four years ago has won an appeal against his conviction.

Daniel Michael Loughran of McRory’s Road was originally sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years for his actions, which led to the death of Mark Henry in the early hours of 4th July 2010.  Mr Henry died after being struck by a Subaru car driven by Loughran.  The deceased had lost control of his own Peugeot 208 and had got out onto the Dundalk Road when the collision occurred.

Loughran had been at the scene only because Mr Henry had contacted him earlier that night seeking his help in a confrontation.

However, in “a state of panic”, Loughran fled the scene.  His friend later died by the roadside despite the efforts of others to save him.

In 2012 Loughran was subsequently convicted of the offences which included causing death by driving without a license and without insurance, failing to stop or remain at the scene of an accident and having no license or insurance.  A six month jail sentence was imposed, suspended for two years, along with a three-year driving disqualification.

Loughran appealed the causing-death convictions based on new Supreme Court jurisprudence that the defendant’s driving must be at fault and it was accepted by the appeal court hearing that he was not speeding when Mr Henry stepped out on to the road in darkness.

Despite describing his actions as “callous”, Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan said Loughran’s driving was not to blame in the tragedy.

Reducing the suspended jail sentence from six to three months, he said the original term had been influenced by the now-quashed causing-death charges.  The three-year driving ban remains in force.