Denied driving car which hit garda vehicle in north Louth
An unemployed chef who denied being the driver of a car that hit a patrol car in north Louth, as it forced its way past the garda car, has been convicted at Dundalk District Court.
However, four counts of hit and run were struck out against Dean Harper of Lough Tain, Station Road Omeath, after the Defence pointed out that the registration of the offending vehicle on each of the summonses - was the reg of the patrol car. A Garda gave evidence that he came upon a Renault Megane parked in a secluded area and on the wrong side of the road at Narrow Water, Cornamucklagh, Omeath on November 30th 2016. The driver - who he said he recognised as the accused, began revving the engine loudly and as the observer in the patrol car, was getting out, he drove off.
The Garda had told his colleague to get back in, and the court heard how the Megane drove along a ditch and up the inside of the patrol car, colliding with the back wing of it. The car left the scene and Dean Harper was subsequently arrested 10 days later for causing criminal damage to the patrol car and made no comment during his interview.
The Defence solicitor applied to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the statement made by the Sergeant on Duty, when the garda reported the incident, said that the occupants were unknown.
However, the sergeant told the court that was a typographical error. The court also heard evidence from the observer in the patrol car, who said he did not identify the driver of the Megane who was wearing a high-vis vest, but he said his colleague had told him at the time that it was Dean Harper.
The Defence solicitor argued the case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. However, Judge John Coughlan said the accused had been identified as the driver and convicted him of criminal damage and driving without insurance.
Judge Coughlan made a compensation order for €1,460 in respect of the damage to the patrol car, and banned Dean Harper from driving for two years for driving without insurance on that date, and for four years in relation to a second offence in May last year.
He also fined him €15 euro each for both insurance offences and marked a summons for dangerous driving, ‘taken into consideration’.