A father of two who claimed he was at home with his children, when Gardaí claimed he had been involved in dangerous driving and fled north across the border, was last week given a four month suspended sentence at Dundalk District Court.
Gregory Shannon (42) with an address at Afton Drive, Greenacres, Dundalk told Judge Eirinn McKiernan he had tried to get CCTV from a local take-away to prove he was not behind the wheel at the time, but the footage had been recorded over.
Two gardai gave evidence last Wednesday of being on mobile patrol in the Nicholas Street/St. Mary’s Road area on September 12th 2020 when they came upon a silver BMW parked along the footpath.
One said two men who were at the back got out and left in a hasty manner on seeing the gardai and he recognized the defendant as the driver, while he said the front seat passenger covered his face with his hand.
The second garda also gave evidence of identifying the defendant as the driver.
The court heard the BMW took off at speed with the tyres screeching and the driver of the patrol car said he had to drive at 100 kilometres an hour to keep it in sight.
The BMW drove through a red light at the St. Helena’s/Castle Road junction and turned onto the Inner Relief without indicating and forced other motorists on the Tain Bridge to pull into the side of the road to avoid a collision, as it overtook other vehicles.
It drove through the Red Cow and Ballymac roundabouts without indicating and pulled onto the N1 northbound and headed for the border.
The court heard the car involved was not registered to the accused.
Mr. Shannon gave evidence of owning a 2007 registered Mercedes and being at home with his children at the time and that he had gone to get chips in a nearby takeaway, but the CCTV which he had hoped would prove it, had been recorded over.
When cross examined about the Garda evidence he replied “The boys were wrong” and he claimed he had never seen one of the officers before.
After convicting Mr. Shannon, the court heard his most recent previous conviction from 2015, was for endangerment in May 2012.
Judge Eirinn McKiernan said the alleged driving on the night was a very, very serious matter and imposed a four month sentence suspended for a year and a two year driving ban for dangerous driving on St. Mary’s Road.
At the request of the Defence the judge fixed recognizance in the event of an appeal.
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