Monday 16 October 2017

Ex-garda who tried to ram patrol car gets driving ban

Greg Harkin

A FORMER garda sergeant who tried to ram a patrol car and then refused to take a breath test has been banned from driving for four years.

Retired garda Jack Conaty (63) refused to provide a breath specimen when he was arrested, Letterkenny District Court was told yesterday.

Gardai had to put two sets of handcuffs on Conaty, such was the extent of the struggle.

Garda Paul Magee told the court that Conaty, who had served in the force for more than 30 years, swerved his van on to the wrong side of the road during a chase.

Gda Magee and two other officers were on patrol in September 11, 2011, in Carrigans, Co Donegal, when they saw the accused stagger towards his Ford van.

They followed Conaty and put on the patrol car's siren and lights when the van swerved in front of two oncoming cars.

And when the patrol car tried to overtake his van, Conaty tried to ram it. Gda Magee told the court: "Garda Dan Curran tried to overtake the van; primarily to warn oncoming vehicles that this van was driving erratically.

"As he tried to do this the van moved over towards us and tried to ram us. We had to pull back to our following position."

Conaty came to a stop outside his home in Dunmore Lower, a quarter of a mile from where he had been parked.

Gda Magee said that when he cautioned Conaty, the retired sergeant replied: "What the f*** are you on about?"

Cuffs

The garda said that when he told Conaty he was being arrested, the former officer laughed at him. Gardai had to put two sets of handcuffs on Conaty as he struggled with them, telling arresting officers: "You won't put any cuffs on me."

When he was taken to Letterkenny station, Conaty refused to answer questions from a custody sergeant.

Gda Sgt Joe Keeley told the court: "When I asked him for his name, he replied 'F*** off', that's my name."

Pat McMyler, defending, said his client wanted to apologies to the gardai who arrested him.

Sentencing, Judge Paul Kelly said: "He knows well how difficult it is for gardai to deal with these situations. A man of his years and experience should have behaved better."

Judge Kelly disqualified Conaty for four years for failing to provide a specimen of breath and two years for dangerous driving. Both bans will run concurrently.

He was also fined €500.

Irish Independent

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