Published 11/12/2012 | 08:52
A CHARGE against a Ballymote man of having illegal fuel in a van was dismissed at Tubbercurry Court after the Judge said he doubted the driver knew about it.
Stephen McDonagh, Cloonfeightrien, Cloontia, Doocastle, Ballymote, was prosecuted for having illegal oil in the van last January at Tobertelly, Tubbercurry.
Garda Sean McCabe told the court that at 2:45am he observed a Ford Transit with only one headlight.
He followed it and it pulled in at Tubbertelly. The driver was Brian Convey. There was no tax or insurance on the vehicle so the garda seized it and drove it to Ballymote Garda Station.
Garda McCabe told the court that the registered owner Stephen McDonagh was not in the van.
Garda Oliver McHale said he was on duty in Ballymote Garda Station on June 8th 2011 when McDonagh came and said he was the owner of the vehicle. Convey was with him. The vehicle was released to McDonagh after he had finished speaking to a customs officer.
A customs officer told the court that McDonagh had no explanation for the marked gas oil in the vehicle.
Judge Kilrane said he remembered a previous prosecution against Convey.
"There was a lot of piggery-pokery and it was a puzzle, the entire thing," the Judge recalled.
However, he said the case just came within the bounds of "rebuttable presumption" and he doubted the fuel oil was kept with McDonagh's knowledge, so he dismissed the charge against him.