A FORMER taxi-driver, who starred in the hit TV3 reality series Tallafornia, has had his conviction for having green diesel in his BMW car wiped clean.
Cormac Brannigan (30), known as the “Corminator”, with an address at Woodbrook Court, Castleknock Dublin was prosecuted by the Revenue Commissioners for an offence under the Finance Act.
But an appeal court judge in Dublin held today that he had not tried to flout the law and had adopted an emergency approach after he had engine trouble and was stranded on the outskirts of Dublin in the middle of the night.
Judge Terence O'Sullivan said he was sparing him a criminal conviction and was striking out the case subject to €2,500 being donated to a benevolent fund for former civil servants who have “fallen on hard times”.
Last October, at Dublin District Court, he had been fined €2,500 after he pleaded guilty to having marked mineral oil containing blue dye in his car's fuel tank, at Airton Road Garda pound in Tallaght, on January 10, 2011.
In those proceedings, he had offered to donate €2,500 to charity in the hope that he would be left without a criminal record, however, the district court fined him and imposed a conviction.
Brannigan, who has a business degree launched an appeal of the severity of the penalty and the case was listed before the Circuit Court, in Dublin today.
Defence counsel Donall Johnston told Judge O'Sullivan that Mr Brannigan wanted to be able to look for work in America but his criminal conviction could hamper his chance of emigrating.
Brannigan had been returning from a late-night fare when his car broke down and there were no petrol stations open at the time. He called his father, a garage owner who has a Hitachi truck which uses green diesel, to come and help him.
His father arrived with a cannister of fuel and they put it in the car but at the time Brannigan was unaware that it was green diesel. On the following day, he contacted his mechanic to arrange to have the fuel drained from his car's fuel tank.
A day later Brannigan was stopped by gardaí carrying out taxi regulation checks and they found the cannister of green diesel in the boot of the BMW. His taxi was impounded and tests were carried out on the fuel in his tank.
Brannigan gave evidence at his appeal today and told Judge O'Sullivan that he is currently out of work but does not draw the dole and has limited savings.
He explained that the car breakdown was a result of faulty fuel injector and he had made efforts to get it going. After that proved unsuccessful he called his father to bring some fuel for a top up but he did not know until afterwards that it was green diesel.
He explained that he had made arrangements to have the green diesel drained from his car.
Judge O'Sullivan noted that Brannigan has no prior criminal convictions and that he had brought receipts as evidence to show that he had normally bought regular diesel.
He said the reality start had “adopted an emergency approach” and “it was not a deliberate attempt to flout the law.”