Judge Kevin Kilrane described a young man who was convicted of dangerous driving as “a speedster” and said the type of driving he displayed was “shocking” and was “too prevalent among young men.”
Cole Gunning, Deerpark, Boyle, Co Roscommon, appeared in Carrick-on-Shannon District Court last Friday on a plea of guilty to careless driving at Treanmore, Mohill and Coolabaun, Mohill on February 24, 2021.
However, having heard the evidence, Judge Kilrane refused to accept the plea to the lesser charge and convicted the defendant of dangerous driving and disqualified him for two years.
Sgt Michael Gallagher outlined the facts to the court.
He said at 9am on that date Garda Leonard was on duty in the patrol car in Mohill and made her way out towards the Cloone Road.
Garda Leonard noted a young male driving a blue BMW coming in the opposite direction. It drove past and continued up the town and the garda turned the patrol car to follow.
Garda Leonard saw the lights of the car in the distance as it continued out the Carrick-on-Shannon road.
Garda Leonard passed out a car and a minibus and drove at a speed of 120 kph but didn’t see the BMW’s brake lights until Curragha.
The car was eventually stopped at Annaduff Glebe at 9.08am where Garda Leonard spoke to the driver who said he was late for work in Boyle.
Sgt Gallagher said the defendant had one previous conviction from Carrick-on-Shannon District Court in July 2019 for careless driving, reduced from dangerous driving, and he was fined €1,000.
Judge Kilrane said he knows the townland of Treanmore and that there are quite a number of houses in a ribbon development along that stretch of road.
He said there is traffic calming in place and it is a 50 kph zone that extends out to 60kph out past Ussaun and thereafter it is 80kph out to the junction with the N4.
“That’s a shocking, shocking speed in a built-up area with houses abutting onto the road,” Judge Kilrane said.
Mr Gunning’s solicitor, John McNulty, said his client is hoping to go to Australia and said the consequences of a dangerous driving conviction would impact that.
Judge Kilrane said he could not have a situation where someone drives at such a terrific speed in a built-up area. He said the fact is the defendant had a previous conviction, had been given a chance and he could not reduce it down to careless driving.
The court heard Mr Gunning is an apprentice panel beater and works in Boyle with his brother.
Judge Kilrane said he is fully aware of that section of road and said there are houses abutting onto it on a slow right hand bend governed by a continuous white line.
He said the patrol car reached speeds of 120kph and it was not until Curragha, about three miles out, that it caught up with him.
“That type of driving is shocking. It’s too prevalent among young men,” he remarked.
Judge Kilrane said the defendant was working with his brother who would surely have understood if he was a little late.
“There was no need for that type of speed, he’s obviously a speedster,” Judge Kilrane said.
He convicted and fined Mr Gunning €300, giving him four months to pay, and disqualified him from driving for dangerous driving at Treanmore, Mohill. The charge of dangerous driving at Coolabaun, Mohill was struck out.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal at €100 in his own bond and an independent surety of €3,000 with €1,000 to be lodged.