A MAN who took his then girlfriend's car without her permission, crashed it and fled the scene has been fined and banned from driving.
Sean Byrne (22), with an address at Ravan-ny, Louth Village, admitted a number of offences arising out of the crash which took place at Martin's Cross on March 11. He also admitted to a charge of unauthorised taking of his girlfriend's car and having no insurance.
Gardaí found the car at the scene of the crash but the driver had left. They later discovered the car had been reported stolen. Byrne was questioned about what happened and he admitted taking the car and crashing it.
Solicitor Frank McDonnell said this was not a run-of-the-mill car theft as the charge might suggest. The solicitor said his client had previously been insured on his then girlfriend's car and had driven it a number of times. In addition, his then girlfriend was, at that time, staying at his house a couple of nights a week and was on a night out with relatives of Byrne's when the car was taken.
Mr. McDonnell said she had left the car to go on a night out and Byrne mistakenly believed that she would have given him permission to take it. Technically, he said, there was no specific consent from the car owner but Mr. McDonnell asked Judge Flann Brennan to distinguish this case from one where a car is stolen off the street and added Byrne was a man of previous good character.
The solicitor said Byrne had tried to deal with the damage to the car by buying his then girlfriend a new car and then offered to get it fixed, but the victim claimed off her own insurance. Mr. McDonnell said his client had 'made an error of judgement'.
Judge Brennan imposed fines totalling €300 and disqualified Byrne for two years.