05 Oct 2022

Dundalk court: Accused of making a break for the border

Dundalk court: Accused of making a break for the border

Dundalk courthouse

A 37 year old south Armagh man who claimed he was travelling to work at the Port Tunnel in Dublin when he was accused of failing to stop for a gardaí and making a break for the border on the M1 motorway, was convicted at Dundalk district court last week.

Rico Kelly with an address at Lismore Park, Crossmaglen was charged with dangerous driving at Junction 17 northbound, at Harrison's Lane and at Newtownbalregan on September 24th last year.

A Garda told the court last Wednesday he was travelling on the N53 towards Castleblayney when he saw the defendant driving a black Audi A6 at Barronstown, Hackballscross.

He turned and caught up with it shortly after 8pm. The driver failed to stop and took off at high speed and turned onto the M1 northbound at more than 180 kilometres an hour, which the Garda said was the speed that he was driving at.

The witness said he saw the Audi continue to drive at a dangerous speed past the townland of Thistle Cross and in the distance he observed the car undertaking other vehicles before the car crossed the border.

A fixed charge penalty notice was issued for failing to stop for a Garda.

The Defence barrister said the garda had saved the life of Mr Kelly's mother following a serious road crash a number of years ago, but pointed out the incident occurred at night time, with headlights on and his client had an alibi.

Rico Kelly denied being the driver and claimed he would have been getting a lift to work a night-shift in the Port Tunnel, where he was pulling cables for a fire alarm.

He also said if he was to drive past the garda at night when it was raining "I don't think I'd recognise him".

Mr Kelly's work colleague also gave evidence that as the defendant had no driving licence, he picked up around 7.30pm to arrive at 8.45 ahead of a 9pm start. He said it was impossible for the defendant to have been driving the car as outlined to the court.

The Defence barrister argued 'identification evidence' on its own was insufficient to prove the case against his client.
However, Judge Eirinn McKiernan said she was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt and convicted him.

After being told the defendant had five previous convictions including dangerous driving and is disqualified from driving, and maintains his innocence, Judge McKiernan imposed a four month sentence suspended for 12 months, and a four year driving ban.


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