A motorist who was convicted of a number of motoring offences arising out of an incident in Tesco car park, Carrick-on-Shannon on September 2, 2017 left Carrick-on-Shannon District Court last week after unleashing a tirade of abuse against one of the prosecuting Gardaí.
Rebecca Shanley, Palm Grove House, Cortober, Carrick-on-Shannon appeared before court charged with a series of offences including having no driving licence; having no insurance and failing to keep her vehicle at the scene for a reasonable time.
Defending solicitor Niamh McGovern said the defendant would be entering a plea in relation to the charges of having no insurance or driving licence.
Giving evidence Alison Dalmon said she was leaving Tesco car park on the day in question when her vehicle was struck by the defendant’s car.
“She said she was really sorry,” recalled Ms Dalmon in relation to her conversation with Ms Shanley after the incident.
Ms Dalmon said she went to take pictures of the defendant’s documentation on her windscreen.
“I noticed they were all out of date and said I would have to call the Guards. She said she couldn’t stop as she was in a hurry to get home to her children.”
The injured party said she went to the Garda Station to report the matter. She added that the damage caused to her car’s bumper and tyre was in excess of €800.
Continuing her evidence, the injured party said she obtained the defendant’s phone number from the Gardaí and contacted Ms Shanley in relation to the damage done to the car.
“She said she expected it to be double that and that she would go to the garage and pay, but didn’t,” Ms Dalmon recalled.
Under cross-examination from defending solicitor Niamh McGovern, Ms Dalmon agreed there was no hostility shown by the defendant when she initially got out of her car.
When asked if she was allowed by Ms Shanley to take photos of the documents in the windscreen, Ms Dalmon replied, “She certainly didn’t comment.”
Addressing the court Gda Mary Burke said she was on duty in the public office in Carrick-on-Shannon Garda Station, shortly after 2pm on the day in question when Alison Dalmon arrived to inform her that a driver who had hit her vehicle had left the scene.
Gda Burke said the registered owner of the vehicle came back as Rebecca Shanley.
At 2.33pm on the same day Gda Burke called to Ms Shanley’s home and cautioned her. Gda Burke stated, “She replied, ‘Oh that thing in Tesco, I was going to call in to you’.”
Gda Burke said there were numerous marks on the defendant’s vehicle and it was “impossible to ascertain” if they had been caused by the incident at Tesco.
Ms Shanley undertook to produce her documentation within 10 days but failed to do so.
Giving evidence the defendant, Ms Shanley, said, “On the day in question I wasn’t insured but I wasn’t aware of that.”
She added that she was on crutches and pain medication at the time.
Continuing her evidence Ms Shanley said, “It was a temporary policy while we got the next one sorted. I genuinely thought I was insured.”
When it was put to her that her driving licence was out of date, Ms Shanley replied, “I’m not driving now.”
Ms Shanley added, “I’m sorry it affected her car because it was a fabulous car.”
She then turned her attention towards Gda Mary Burke stating, “That Garda is a liar. That is the truth and I’m not going to hide it over an ignorant Garda.”
Defending solicitor Niamh McGovern then addressed the court to say, “It is an unfortunate situation. She needs her licence.”
Judge Kilrane replied, “But she doesn’t have a licence.”
Concluding matters Judge Kilrane remarked, “The hit and run is at the lower end of the scale but they are matters for which she is guilty.”
Judge Kilrane then asked for a record of the defendant’s previous convictions to be read out with Insp Denis Harrington informing the court the defendant has previous convictions for offences including being an unaccompanied driver, no insurance, no road tax and passing counterfeit notes.
Ms Shanley voiced her opposition to the list of previous offences and was asked to return to the witness box to clarify matters.
In relation to the conviction of passing counterfeit notes she said, “I was convicted but I should have gone to the Garda Ombudsman.”
Outlining her client's circumstances Ms McGovern said the defendant is a “mother of three young children. One has significant medical needs. Her income is from social welfare.”
Judge Kilrane imposed a conviction in relation to the charge of having no driving licence which was taken into consideration.
A charge of having no insurance resulted in a conviction, a €200 fine and a disqualification from driving for two years. In relation to the charge of failing to keep her vehicle at the scene for a reasonable time Ms Shanley received a conviction, a €200 fine and a two year disqualification from driving.
Recognisances in the event of an appeal were fixed at €300 and legal aid was granted to Niamh McGovern.
As she was leaving the court Ms Shanley once more directed her anger towards Gda Burke as she shouted, “It’s not his (Judge Kilrane's) fault. It’s that dog's fault. Woof, woof.”
Judge Kilrane addressed Insp Harrington saying the outburst may result in additional charges under section six of the public order act, threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.