Court

Roscommon man convicted of holding mobile phone while driving

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Carrick-on Shannon man facing jail term if he re-offends

Carrick-on-Shannon Courthouse

A District Court conviction imposed on a Co Roscommon man for holding a mobile phone while driving was affirmed at the Circuit Court in Carrick-on-Shannon last week.

Garda Albert McHale said that at 12.55pm on October 8, 2018 at Drumheckil Townland, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim he witnessed Seamus O'Neill, Coolteigue, Fourmilehouse, Co Roscommon holding a mobile phone to his left ear while driving. A fixed charge penalty notice was issued and not paid.

Garda McHale said Seamus O'Neill told him he was talking to his mother but it was his father who rang her to say they were on their way home.

Phone records for Mr O'Neill were handed into court by his solicitor Sinead Neilan showing there were no calls made from his phone at that time.

Ms Neilan said it was her client's father, a passenger in the car, who was on the phone.

Mr O'Neill said when he was stopped by the garda he told him his father had rang home to his mother to say they'd be home for dinner. They were coming back from attending Manorhamilton Mart.

Mr O'Neill Senior said he had the phone in his hand, not his son. He could not say what time he made the call at, what time they left the mart at or what time the garda stopped them.

There were no phone records for Mr O'Neill Senior in court to show details of his calls.

Ms Neilan said it is not disputed the garda saw someone on the phone but it was not Seamus O'Neill.

Judge John Aylmer said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the evidence of Garda McHale and noted there was an admissions by Mr O'Neill to being on the phone to his mother.

He said Garda McHale was very specific in his evidence that he saw him on his phone and Judge Aylmer said he must convict and affirmed the District Court order which carried a €100 fine.