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Kane’s suspended sentence a 'joke'.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Kane’s suspended sentence a 'joke'. thumbnail CHE Brian Kane has been given a suspended sentence for causing the deaths of Eoin Farrell (left) and James Miskelly (right) in 2015.

A MAYOBRIDGE teenager has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to causing the deaths of two 17-year-olds.

Nineteen-year-old Che Brian Kane of St Anne's Park, admitted causing the deaths of James Miskelly and Eoin Farrell by driving carelessly on the Kilbroney Road, Rostrevor, on September 14, 2015.

They died after the Volkswagen Bora Kane was driving left the road and struck a house, causing an oil tank to catch fire, before coming to rest in a field.

Kane was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for three years.

The father of Eoin described the sentence as a "joke".

"We're just gobsmacked, dumbfounded as to how that can happen," said Gerard Farrell.

"I feel that we, the Farrell and Miskelly families, have been let down." The court heard that Kane has expressed genuine "shame and remorse" that his actions caused the deaths of his two friends, while the judge described it as a "sad and heartbreaking case".

"The consequences of your driving proved to be cataclysmic," Judge Paul Ramsey told Kane.

He added that it would be "little comfort to the relatives" of the two victims, but that Kane would have to "carry for the rest of his days the knowledge and shame that he is responsible for causing the deaths of two young men".

Kane, who was then a restricted driver, lost control of the car he was driving and it left the road, crashed through the front garden and wall of an elderly woman's home and into an oil tank before coming to rest on its roof in a field.

The oil tank caught fire and caused the house to be badly damaged.

The judge outlined in court that there was much debate over the cause of the crash but said that two expert engineer reports (one for the prosecution and one for the defence) estimated that the car was travelling between 37-39mph in a 60mph zone when the then 17-year-old lost control.

In a previous court hearing, it was recognised that due to the "devastating scene" that met emergency services when they arrived at the crash between Hilltown and Rostrevor "there was a natural assumption that the car was travelling at excessive speed".

The court was also told that Kane was restricted to travelling at 45mph as he had passed his test just four months before the accident.

During Friday's sentencing in Downpatrick, the judge said that he "cannot ignore" expert evidence, which stated that the loss of control was caused by low-tyre pressure that required different handling by the driver, the relative inexperience of Kane behind the wheel and the chamber of the road.

The judge added that this was a "lethal cocktail of circumstances" that, in his view, put Kane's culpability at the lower end of the scale.

The court was told that Kane, who was critically injured in the crash, could not remember the circumstances leading up to what happened.

The judge told the court that he had received two psychiatric reports that deemed this to be genuine amnesia brought about by the "emotional and mental" stress of the situation.

Eoin's father said he "can't comprehend" the view that the car was travelling at a lower speed.

"To say that you were driving in excess of 38-39mph when the devastation that was there - in my eyes, if you're doing 38mph you would go down and land beside the house," said Mr Farrell.

"You wouldn't hit a wall, engine drop out of it [the car], hit a pillar and travel another 30ft in mid-air and go through a tree - I don't think so.

"It feels like the Farrells and Miskellys are on trial.

"The justice system has done nothing for us, absolutely nothing in my eyes."

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