Thursday 22 March 2018

Detective who crashed unmarked Garda car appealing dangerous driving conviction

Tom Tuite

A DETECTIVE , who crashed an unmarked Garda car on the M50 in Dublin after he spent hours in a pub, is appealing a dangerous driving conviction for which he was fined €500 and given a two-year road ban.

Detective Garda Kevin Keys, who is attached to Mountjoy station in Dublin, lost control of a Ford Mondeo which collided with a Hyundai Sante Fe 4X4 driven by Gareth Wooster, who did not sustain serious injuries, on February 6, 2010.

In March at Dublin District Court, Det Keys was found guilty of a charge of dangerous driving which he had contested.

The court had ruled that Det Keys did not have to ask for permission to use the unmarked Ford Mondeo and there was no evidence to contradict his claim that he was serving a witness summons at the time. Presiding Judge Conal Gibbons had said it was clear the officer had drink taken but there was conflicting evidence as to the amount he had consumed.

He had said he had no doubt that Det Keys was guilty of dangerous driving and imposed the fine and banned him from driving for two years.

The detective has lodged an appeal of his dangerous driving conviction which was listed for mention before Judge Katherine Delahunt at the Circuit Court, in Dublin today.

The judge ordered that the two-day long appeal will take place in December.

In his trial earlier this year, the District Court had heard that Keys, who works in one of Ireland's busiest detective units, had no prior criminal convictions and an “unblemished record”.

The detective had told investigators from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) that he was delivering a witness summons; he had drank four or five lager shandies in a pub earlier that day but was fit to drive.

Another detective had told the court that it was possible Det Keys had six pints of lager. Det Keys had been rostered to work that day from 9am to 5pm, but at about 2pm, he went to a pub in Phibsborough, in Dublin, and stayed there with colleagues until 7.30pm.

At about 7.50pm, while driving the Mondeo on the M50, he attempted to enter the exit for junction 11, but it was cordoned off with traffic cones and he then came back on to the motorway.

The Mondeo crossed three lanes until it collided with Mr Wooster's Sante Fe which was written off.

Tests revealed that the unmarked garda car's anti-lock braking system was defective, and there was conflicting information on road signs leading up the point where he crashed, the district court trial had heard.

Det Keys, who broke six ribs and suffered a punctured lung in the crash, was brought to Tallaght hospital but did not go in for treatment.

When questioned by GSOC, he claimed he thought the waiting list would be too long and he had denied that he had not gone in for treatment so he could avoid being tested for drink-driving.

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