A Longford man who was previously cleared of the unlawful killing of another man following a row outside a pub in Co Longford two years ago has reappeared in court after being found guilty of dangerous and drink driving.
Gerard Melia (33), Derrygowna, Lanesboro, Co Longford was not at the scene when gardaí came across a car which had crashed into a signpost at Derraghan Mor, Lanesboro, during the early hours of August 17 2020.
The Longford native, the court heard, had already been taken away by ambulance for treatment to bruised ribs and cuts to his hands when Garda Colm Satchwell came across the crash scene.
It was also revealed Mr Melia had taken off in a car which had been under repair at his father’s crash repair business after a row with his partner.
The court was informed the car in question was also not initially located and was later found parked up at the family run business.
In defence, solicitor Brid Mimnagh said Mr Melia later voluntarily went to a local garda station and spoke to officers over the incident.
“The guards wouldn’t have known anything about it, had he not called,” she said.
She added her client was already “under the radar” of gardaí at that time with Mr Melia due to stand trial accused of the unlawful killing of another man in a pub car park which dated back to August 2019.
Fifty-year-old Noel McGann died three days after being struck by Mr Melia at Leavy's car park, Foigha, Kenagh, Co Longford on 1 August 2019.
After almost four and a half hours of deliberations at Longford Circuit Criminal Court a jury of six men and four women found Mr Melia not guilty.
“He (Mr Melia) was acquitted on (grounds) of self defence,” said Ms Mimnagh.
She said her client was now attempting to get his life back on track and had not consumed any alcohol for the past six months.
Ms Mimnagh also told of how Mr Melia had gone to stay in Northern Ireland with his sister and had recently undergone a procedure to aid his rehabilitation.
She continued by saying Mr Melia had opted to drive that night after falling out with his now estranged ex partner, but continued to have a “very good relationship” with his one year old daughter.
It was initially claimed Mr Melia had been disqualified at the time but it was later revealed a postponement on the start of that ban wasn’t due to commence until September, a month before the incident before the court took place.
Judge Hughes took a dim view of those revelations, arguing the point Mr Melia was well aware he had been on a “special privilege” when deciding to get behind the wheel of a car while over the limit.
“You certainly have a history, I have to say,” noted Judge Hughes as he handed down a four month suspended prison sentence for the drink driving offence.
That term was suspended for a period of three years with an identical sentence being issued for driving without insurance.
Fines totalling €500 in respect of both offences were also given, allowing Mr Melia three months to pay.
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