01 Jul 2022

Longford man put off road for two years after dangerous driving episode

Longford Courthouse.

A man accused of reversing at high speed into a busy residential estate in Longford town in a bid to give gardaí the slip has been banned from driving for two years and fined a total of €700

A man accused of reversing at high speed into a busy residential estate in Longford town in a bid to give gardaí the slip has been banned from driving for two years and fined a total of €700.

Paul Adetunji (21), 55 Lanna Aoibhinn, Longford, was handed down the penalty by Judge John Brennan at last week's sitting of Longford District Court following an incident at Lanna Aoibhinn on August 18, 2021.

Garda Louise McConnell said she had been on patrol along the St Michael's area of town shortly after 5pm when she noticed a blue Skoda Savia emerge onto the junction at speed with Lanna Aoibhinn.

She said the driver was the accused and while attempting to exit the patrol car and speak to Mr Adetunji, the car he was driving reversed at speed back into the estate.

Garda McConnell said she noticed "four to five" children playing on a nearby green area.

She said two men, one of which was Mr Adetunji, exited the vehicle and ran into a house.

Garda McConnell said she knocked on the door of the house where she was greeted by Mr Adetunji's mother who told her the accused was not inside.

The Longford based garda returned the following day with colleague Garda Rachel Carlin.

This time, the court heard, Mr Adetunji, opted to converse with Garda McConnell from an upstairs bedroom window.

Garda McConnell said she made a lawful demand of Mr Adetunji's driving documentation within ten days, but added the accused simply "smiled out the window" before closing it moments later.

Under cross examination from Inspector Paddy McGirl, Garda McConnell said she estimated the accused had reversed somewhere between "30 to 40 metres" at speed without once looking behind him.

In defence, solicitor John Quinn said the other male spotted in the car was Mr Adetunji's brother and that it was he that was driving.

Taking the stand himself, Mr Adetunji denied he had been driving, indicating instead that it was indeed his brother who was at the wheel.

"They (gardaí) didn't make any demand of me (for insurance and driver's licence)," he said.

"I asked her what did she want?"

Asked why Mr Adetunji opted against talking to gardaí directly, the accused said: "I just closed the window. She (Garda McConnell) clearly doesn't know me very well."

Mr Adetunji followed that up by asking why gardaí hadn't produced evidence of his driving, stressing CCTV on the estate would have indicated if he was driving.

In his summation, Judge Brennan found in favour of the State and called into question the manner of the accused when giving evidence.

"He was aware a criminal investigation was being carried out and allegations were going to be be made against him," he said.

Judge Brennan added he was satisfied the State had proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt and convicted Mr Adetunji of dangerous driving.

"This was a residential area, there would have been traffic and he reversed the vehicle very close to a green area where children were playing at high speed for 30 to 40 metres," he said.

In delivering his verdict, Mr Adetunji, who was sitting on his own in the body of the court shouted: "Bull****", before a garda approached him in a bid to restore order.

He disqualified Mr Adetunji for two years for dangerous driving, fining him €400 in the process.

A further €200 fine was handed down for no insurance alongside a concurrent two year driving ban.

A separate €100 fine was also issued for a further licensing offence on the day in question..

Judge Brennan fixed recognisances in Mr Adetunji's own bond of €200 in the event of an appeal.

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