Longford District Court: Driver's behaviour on N4 reported to local gardaí

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Longford District Court

Longford District Court

A man who appeared before last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged under the Road Traffic Act was ordered to pay €300 to Killoe GFC before the matter was struck out.

David O’Connor (42), Slieve Daneane, Cleveragh Drive, Sligo appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with careless driving at Aughnadegnan, Longford on July 3, 2016.

Meanwhile, John Hughes, who was driving along the N4 close to Rathowen with his wife and child at the time of the incident, provided direct evidence during the court hearing.

He said that on the date in question he was travelling from Dublin back to Longford when he observed “a car lurching from behind me”.

“The driver was trying to overtake me at every opportunity; I was checking my rear view mirror and at one stage he was a couple of cars behind me, then the next thing was he was right up behind my car,” Mr Hughes told the court, before pointing out that he was then forced to take evasive action and pull in along the route to let the vehicle pass.

“I pulled in and let him over take me; there was oncoming traffic and the cars were forced to pull over to the left hand side to allow him to pass by.

“He passed three or four more cars before I lost sight of him. “

The court then went on to hear that Mr Hughes subsequently rang the Gardaí and made a complaint to them about the defendant’s driving.

Meanwhile, in mitigation, Mr Hughes’ solicitor Bríd Mimnagh said that her client was “absolutely surprised” and couldn’t understand the complaint about his driving when Garda Lenehan brought the matter to his attention when he stopped the driver at Aughdegnan.

The court also heard that Mr Hughes held no previous convictions for anything and worked in New Zealand with St John’s Ambulance a number of years ago.

In his direct evidence to the court, Garda Aidan Lenehan said that he stopped the defendant in Aughdegnan and observed him driving a van.

“I made a legal requirement from Mr Hughes for his documents and then informed him that I had received a complaint about his driving,” added Garda Lenehan.  

“He was genuinely surprised by the allegation.”

The court then heard that Garda Lenehan later met with Mr Hughes and took a statement of complaint from him in respect of the matter at Longford Garda Station.

In his direct evidence to the court, Mr O’Connor said that he worked in the marine tourism industry.

He also pointed out to Judge Hughes that at the time of the incident before the court he had finished work in Dun Laoghaire and was on his way back to Sligo.

“I wasn’t in any particular hurry that day,” he added, before pointing out that Garda Lenehan subsequently pulled him over close to Longford town and went on then to ask him a number of questions.

“Garda Lenehan told me that someone had made a complaint about my driving and I was shocked at that to be honest.”
Mr O’Connor went on to say that he remembered overtaking at the time but he was also aware that he had not been breaking any speed limits by doing that.

“I overtook when it was safe at all times,” he added.

“I never saw anyone flashing lights at me or anything like that."

During his deliberations on the matter Judge Hughes said that it wasn’t common for members of the public to report dangerous driving on the country’s roads.

“It is admirable when they do,” he remarked.

“There was Mr Hughes driving along and was probably more conscious of driver behaviour because his wife and child were in the car with him.

“He phoned the Gardaí about your driving Mr O’Connor so he obviously had very good reason to do that.”

Judge Hughes went on to say that he had no doubt in his mind that the defendant was “a very upstanding young man” but that did not take away from the fact that his driving impacted on other road users that day.

He also paid tribute to Mr Hughes for making the complaint in the first instance.

“Bot of ye are upstanding people and very important to the community,” continued the Judge.

“I do want to commend Mr Hughes, though for the making the report.”

The Judge subsequently ordered the defendant to pay €300 to Killoe GFC where Mr Hughes is a referee.
The matter was then struck out.