A businessman accused of killing a pensioner and seriously injuring her cousin by driving dangerously was “fully functioning” at the time of the incident, a court has been told.
Prosecutor Iain McSporran told the jury he believed Vincent Friel, 44, did not faint just before his Range Rover hit Charlotte Collins and Margaret Haldane in January 2014.
The advocate depute told the panel of nine women and six men on Tuesday he believed the evidence showed Friel was conscious at the time of the incident. Friel’s defence argued he was unconscious at the time of the crash.
Mr McSporran told the High Court in Edinburgh he thought Mr Friel was “distracted” in the moments leading up to the collision in Barrhead Road, Glasgow.
Making reference to CCTV footage of the incident previously played to the court, Mr McSporran said: “The video showed to you a distracted driver. He’s fully functioning. There’s nothing about his appearance which is odd.
“The Crown’s position is that what you have seen is a driver who hasn’t been paying attention by allowing his car to move forward. He is not aware of what is in front of him.”
Mr McSporran was addressing jurors on the sixth day of the trial against Friel, of Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire.
Friel denies two charges of driving dangerously close to Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow on January 18, 2014.
The businessman claims he fainted in the moments leading up to the collision, saying his blood pressure dropped to such a low level that he experienced “a total loss of control of his actions.”
In his closing speech, Mr McSporran said the evidence showed it was more likely Friel was not paying attention to road conditions.
He told jurors medical experts who gave evidence for the defence could not state Friel had fallen unconscious.
Mr McSporran told the jury witness evidence showed it to be more likely that Mr Friel was driving dangerously.
He said: “He’s a distracted driver whose distraction was brought to an end by applying the brakes and bringing his car to a stop.”
Mr McSporran urged jurors to return guilty verdicts on the two charges facing Mr Friel.
He added: “The Crown seeks convictions on these charges. This has been a difficult and unpleasant case. I do not envy your task, ladies and gentlemen. However, I would ask you to consider the evidence and return verdicts of guilt against Mr Friel.”
Defence advocate Ian Duguid QC told jurors the Crown had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
He said his client had been taking medication to reduce his blood pressure. He had also been taking Viagra and pills for headaches that Mr Friel suffered from when he had sex.
Mr Duguid said doctors believed the medication could have caused his client to black out moments before the collision took place.
He said Ms Collins had been “extremely unlucky” to have been struck by Mr Friel.
He added: “Charlotte Collins didn’t die from the force of the collision of the car. She died when her head struck the floor of the road. She was extremely unlucky.”
Mr Duguid also asked jurors to acquit his client.
He added: “In conclusion the evidence is that he was not conscious. I finish by urging you to return a verdict of acquittal for Mr Friel.”
Prosecutors claim Friel caused the death of Charlotte Collins on January 18, 2014 at Barrhead Road, Glasgow.
The Crown say Friel was driving a car with a registration plate 27V. They claim he failed to observe pedestrians crossing the road at a traffic crossing in contravention of a red light signals.
Prosecutors claim this caused the vehicle to strike Ms Collins, injuring her so severely that she later died at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.
They also claim Friel’s alleged dangerous driving caused Ms Haldane to be severely injured, permanently disfigured and permanently impaired.
Friel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyers have lodged a special defence on his behalf stating that he had a Vasovagal attack at the time of the alleged incident.
The trial before temporary judge John Morris QC continues.