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Paudie Palmer Cork GAA

Man allegedly sent texts admitting he left scene of crash which killed Paudie Palmer, court hears

Bohdan Bezverkhyi denies dangerous driving causing the death of the 65-year-old.

A MAN WHO has pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of GAA commentator Paudie Palmer in a collision shortly after Christmas in 2022 allegedly sent texts to third parties that day where he admitted he had left the scene, a jury has heard.

Prosecution Barrister, Brendan Kelly, BL told a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today that they would hear evidence that Bohdan Bezverkhyi (33) also allegedly “effectively admitted” in his messages to others that day that “it [the incident] was his fault.”

Kelly said that the Ukrainian national also indicated to gardaí in his garda interview that he had been involved in a collision but had “panicked” and “left the scene”.

Bezverkhyi of Rigsdale House, Rigsdale House, Ballinhassig, Co Cork denies dangerous driving causing the death of 65-year-old Paudie Palmer at Dunkereen Cross, Innishannon Co Cork on 29 December 2022.

Mr Palmer was a sports journalist from Kerry who was involved in GAA coverage for Cork radio stations 96FM and C103FM for a number of decades.

Kelly told Judge Jonathan Dunphy and the jury of seven woman and five men that the evidence of the State will be that Bezverkhyi was at a petrol station in Crossbarry in his car for several hours on the morning of the alleged offence having experienced a flat tyre.

Kelly said that the evidence will be that when the tyre was changed and replaced with a speed restricted space saver tyre the accused drove towards Dunkereen crossroads in Innishannon at about 9.50am on 29 December 2022.

He said that Colette Downey, who lives near Dunkereen Cross, said she was in the kitchen of her home when she heard a “revving engine”. She emerged from her house to find that a red Peugeot car driven by Mr Palmer was up against the embankment.

Kelly said that the emergency services were called and Mr Palmer was taken to hospital where he died on 8 January 2023.

The prosecution barrister emphasised that his outline of the case was not evidence in itself.

Kelly said that jurors would hear evidence from Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, that Mr Palmer passed away from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries due to a road traffic collision.

He said that it would be the case of the State that Bezverkhyi breached a stop sign resulting in a collision with the car driven by Palmer. He said the accused had an unrestricted 150-metre view of traffic as he approached the crossroads.

“The state’s case is that he came to a stop sign and went through it, just as Mr Palmer’s car was coming to the crossroads causing it to spin and collide with the embankment causing his death.”

Kelly said that debris belonging to the grey BMW series car driven by Bezverkhyi was found at the scene of the accident.

The trial also heard evidence from a shop assistant Lorrinda Crowley who works at Centra in the Crossbarry Petrol Station. She said that when she arrived for work on the day of the crash she saw that a Silver BMW car was in the forecourt.

She said in evidence that she was in the store room when a man came in and explained to her that he had a problem with his tyre.

Crowley said that the man spoke to her through Google translate on her phone as his command of English was poor.

She said that gardaí arrived at the station and moved the car out of the way.

Richard O’Callaghan, who was also employed onsite, said in evidence that he also spoke to the accused man that morning.

He told the court that the man wasn’t wearing shoes and that he could barely understand him. He informed O’Callaghan that he had a flat tyre.

O’Callaghan said that he started his work and went out at a later point to tell the man that the air was working on the forecourt. However, he claimed that the man was asleep in the car.

Garda Jacinta O’Leary told the trial that at 8.30am on 29 December 2022 she was informed that a small car was causing an obstruction at the forecourt in Crossbarry. At around 9am she went in to the shop and a female member of staff told her the car was parked at the pumps.

She said the man standing next to the car spoke to her in “two word sentences of broken English”.

Garda O’Leary said she asked him for ID and he gave her a ‘foreign driving licence’ and his Irish Public Services card. She said she took pictures of both.

She said Bezverkhyi said “no drive, car broke”. She asked him if he had been drinking and he said “no”.

Garda O’Leary said Bezverkhyi was agreeable to moving his car out of the way of the pump to allow customers to use it.

The garda said she moved the car 15 yards out of the way and both she and another garda left the scene.

The accused man had informed her that he had a friend who was coming to help him replace the tyre. She said that the accused man told her he worked for a ventilation company.

She was later called to the scene of the fatal crash in Innishannon. When she arrived she found that a number of people were trying to assist Palmer who was “half in and half out” of his car.

Garda O’Leary said that she was not of the opinion that Bezverkhyi was intoxicated in any way when she spoke to him at the petrol station.

The case will continue tomorrow. The accused is being assisted in court by an interpreter who speaks Russian.

Olivia Kelleher