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17 Aug 2022

Leitrim dangerous driving charge reduced to careless driving and disqualification removed on appeal

Guilty plea entered before Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court for restraining liberty

Carrick-on-Shannon Courthouse

A man who was convicted of dangerous driving had the charge reduced on appeal to one of careless driving and the subsequent disqualification removed.
Appearing before Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court last week was 24-year-old Cole Gunning, Deerpark, Boyle, Co Roscommon, who had pleaded guilty at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court to careless driving at Treanmore, Mohill and Coolabaun, Mohill on February 24, 2021.
Judge Kevin Kilrane had convicted and fined Mr Gunning €300, giving him four months to pay, and disqualified him from driving for dangerous driving at Treanmore, Mohill. A charge of dangerous driving at Coolabaun, Mohill was struck out.
Appealing the severity of the District Court ruling, Mr Gunning was successful in having the charge reduced and the disqualification removed, however, the fine imposed was increased to €500.
State Solicitor, Noel Farrell, outlined the facts to the court.
He said at about 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. It has gone the full length of Main Street in a very short period of time.
The car continued out the Carrick Road driving at very high speed. The patrol car’s siren and blue lights were activated.
The garda car had to overtake other vehicles but there was “little or no sight” of the car they were pursuing.
The garda car was travelling in excess of 120 kph and at one stage the gardai saw the brake lights of the car in the distance but couldn’t catch up with it.
Another patrol car in the area was alerted and the car was stopped at Annaduff Glebe.
Mr Gunning had travelled 7.6km from the point he was first seen to where he was stopped.
Mr Farrell said the Gardai drove back that distance, adhering to the speed limit, and it took them six minutes. Mr Gunning had covered the distance in a little over three minutes.
Ciaran Elders BL asked Judge Kenneth Connolly, presiding, to reduce the dangerous driving charge to one of careless driving and remove the disqualification.
He handed in a letter from a company offering Mr Gunning full time employment for which he needed his licence. He said Mr Gunning was starting a new job that day and didn’t want to be late.
Judge Connolly said everyone gets one chance in life but it beggared belief he was late for work on the first morning of a new job.
He said he was satisfied Mr Gunning was driving “far too fast” but said he would reduce the charge and remove the disqualification.
Increasing the fine to €500, Judge Connolly said, “take it easy on the road Mr Gunning.”

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