Ballyshannon court house
A case against a man charged with careless driving at Lennox Bridge has been dismissed on technical grounds.
Furthermore, it could not be proven that the defendant was driving.
Richard Evans, 52, of 38 Oakfield Park, Kinlough was before Ballyshannon District Court on Friday. He faced a charge of careless driving at Magheracar, Bundoraon on March 9, 2020.
The court heard evidence from Raymond Daly who said he lived right beside Lennox Bridge on the Leitrim-Donegal border.
“I pulled out of my entrance,” he said.
“At the top of the hill is a bad bend. Just before it, a car overtook me in a very dangerous manner just before the blind bend.
“I was very nervous. I thought my wife would have been coming back from the shops in Bundoran with my child. I have come across a lot of accidents because I am in the ambulance service and I thought there was going to be carnage.”
The defendant reported the matter to gardaí.
In response to a question from defence solicitor Rory O’Brien, the witness acknowledged that he had not seen the driver’s face.
The court then heard from the investigating officer, Garda Paul Corcoran.
Garda Corcoran gave evidence of contacting the defendant and inviting him to make a cautioned statement.
He said the driver initially said he was the only driver of the car, but had no recollection of the date in question. The driver also said he would not drive in such a manner.
The garda spoke to the defendant again at a later date, at which time Evans said that a friend - whose name he did not provide - sometimes drove the vehicle.
Mr O’Brien applied for the charge to be dismissed on two grounds. Firstly, the garda had not in his evidence to the court stated that the alleged offence occurred in a public place.
The solicitor said that in cases of this nature, it was deemed an essential proof to provide evidence of the offence occurring in a public place.
His second submission was that there was an insufficient burden of proof that his client had been driving the car.
Superintendent Colm Nevin argued that the defendant had clearly said in his cautioned statement: “I am the only driver of the car.”
Regarding the public place issue, the superintendent said that Lennox Bridge was described as the place where the incident occurred.
“To me it is a public place,” said Superintendent Nevin, who added: “I accept that a public place may not have been said.”
Judge Sandra Murphy said she had taken a careful note of the evidence given in court, and the garda had not referred to the alleged incident having occurred in a public place.
In relation to whether the defendant had been driving at the time, Judge Murphy acknowledged that Evans said in a statement that he was the only person to drive the car.
“However, a doubt then arose,” said the judge.
She dismissed the charge against Evans.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.