Farmer caught drink driving while disqualified for a second time

A farmer who was caught drink-driving while disqualified for a second time, had his case further adjourned at Dundalk District Court last week so that more details could be established about how he was granted legal aid when he stood surety for an individual before the Special Criminal Court - for tens of thousands of euro.

Judge William Hamill sought the information in relation to John Kirk (66) of Drumkeith, Inniskeen, whom the court had previously heard was unsuitable for community service as he was not physically well enough to perform it.

The court previously heard the accused was pleading guilty to drink driving at Tullycahan, Louth on 23 June 2012 which arose from gardaí seeing him driving on the wrong side of the road through Louth Village.

John Kirk had two previous convictions for drink driving, as well as driving without insurance and driving while disqualified, arising out of the second offence and the defence barrister told the court at an earlier hearing that his client had become “a shell of a man” since the death of his wife and had turned to drink to try and cope with that.

Judge William Hamill put back the case so a probation report could be prepared. He was told two weeks ago that an adjournment was being sought because the defendant was in the Special Criminal Court, where the person he had stood surety for was applying to have their bail terms amended.

At the vacation sitting last week, Judge Hamill asked how the accused came to be granted legal aid, when he was in a position to stand surety.

He was told that the surety related to deeds of land and no cash was involved. But the judge said he understood that the legal aid application form asks what assets a person has.

The defence barrister said his client’s income is a pension of €200 a week.

He also said the accused has been attending counselling for his drinking.

The case for a week, so more information could be produced in relation to the amount Mr. Kirk had stood surety for.

Judge Hamill also told the defence that if he was suggesting he should only take the accused’s income into account and not his assets, he would like the law on the matter opened to him.


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