Vehicle testing firm owner begins giving evidence in Clara bus trial

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The owner of a vehicle testing firm charged in relation to a fatal school bus crash in Offaly over six years ago began giving evidence in his trial on Thursday.

The owner of a vehicle testing firm charged in relation to a fatal school bus crash in Offaly over six years ago began giving evidence in his trial on Thursday.

David O’Reilly, acting on behalf of vehicle testing firm O’Reilly Commercials Ltd of Ballinalach, Mullingar, Co Westmeath has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges relating to failing to note or verify defects on the bus between August 5 and 6, 2005.

The bus went out of control on a bog road just outside Clara, Co Offaly on April 4, 2006 after the rear drive axle came off. School boy Michael White (15) died as a result of “catastrophic injuries” suffered during the crash.

It is alleged that a missing bolt and fractures in the rear suspension springs resulted in the axle separating from the bus.

Mr O’Reilly told Diarmaid McGuinness SC, prosecuting, that he regularly carried out pre DOE tests for clients who might be buying a vehicle and wanted to see what condition it was in.

He said there was no official paperwork with a pre DOE test because it is not entered into the computer system.

The trial will resume on Tuesday before Judge Margaret Heneghan and a jury of ten men and two women.