Jury finds Limerick brothers not guilty of ramming sulky driver off road

Limerick District Court.

TWO Limerick brothers were found not guilty of assaulting a sulky driver and causing him harm after it was alleged he was rammed off a road by an SUV the siblings were travelling in.

Vincent Collopy (44) and Jonathan Collopy (37), both from St Mary’s Park in Limerick City, shook hands and gave a thumbs up and a smile to loved ones in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court after a jury acquitted them on all charges.

Judge Tom O’Donnell accepted the not guilty verdicts of at least 10 of the 12 jury members after they deliberated for just over three hours without reaching an unanimous decision.

During a four-day trial last week, the State alleged that Vincent Collopy drove a Audi Q7 SUV into the rear of a sulky cart, forcing it and its driver, Darren Wallace, off a roadway at or near Sandy Lane, Boher, County Limerick, on April 7, 2020.

The State told the jury it had a central witness, the alleged victim Mr Wallace, who had identified the two accused brothers because he had known them for around 10 years previously.

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Darren Wallace had given a statement to Gardaí the day after the alleged incident identifying Vincent Collopy as the driver of the SUV, and Jonathan Collopy as being a front passenger who, along with another man, leapt from the SUV and began beating him with a stick and a hurley.

However, when giving direct evidence on behalf of the prosecution, Darren Wallace said he had identified “the wrong men” and had “made a mistake” when he gave his statement to Gardaí.

Mr Wallace told the court he had been suffering with a head injury when he made the statement to Gardaí, and was “on heavy medication, so I wasn’t in my right mind”.

Detective Garda Niall Fitzgerald, Roxboro Road Garda Station, who took the statement from Mr Wallace, told the court Mr Wallace had been in “good health” and was “extremely sharp” at the time.

Jamie Wallace, a nephew of Darren Wallace, who the State alleged was assaulted by Vincent Collopy at the same location on the day, had told Gardaí he was also struck by the SUV, but could not identify the occupants.

When Jamie Wallace was called to give evidence in front of the jury, he said he couldn’t remember making a statement to Gardaí, nor could he remember any incident of the sort happening. He also told the court he could not remember his own date of birth.

Judge Tom O’Donnell directed the jury to find Vincent Collopy not guilty of assaulting Jamie Wallace and not guilty of dangerous driving.

Vincent Collopy had denied these charges as well as charges of assaulting Darren Wallace causing him harm and endangerment.

Jonathan Collopy denied two charges, including assaulting Darren Wallace causing him harm and production of an offensive weapon, namely a stick.

Judge O’Donnell thanked the jury for their time and absolved them from jury service for the next six years.