Sunday 22 September 2019

Former Labour TD wins appeal against dangerous driving

Michael McNamara was pepper sprayed by garda. Picture: Tom Burke
Michael McNamara was pepper sprayed by garda. Picture: Tom Burke

Gordon Deegan

Former Labour TD Michael McNamara has won his appeal against a conviction for dangerous driving against him on the same night that he was pepper sprayed by a garda.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys said he had "a reasonable doubt" over the case against Mr McNamara after saying he couldn't consider the speed or driving by Mr McNamara (44) on the night as dangerous.

Mr McNamara was driving the 1.1km distance from Scarriff to his home at Tobernagath, Scarriff, Co Clare, at 2.05am on December 10, 2016.

Under cross-examination from State Solicitor Martin Linnane, Mr McNamara said he didn't hear the siren of the Garda car as he was playing quite loudly a CD from 'Oliver'.

The judge said the expert evidence presented to court on behalf of Mr McNamara showed he could not have been going at high speeds around the bends in question "as he wouldn't have got around those corners at high speed".

Judge Keys' ruling overturned the dangerous driving conviction imposed on Mr McNamara by Judge John King at the district court in January that came with an automatic two-year ban.

Mr McNamara was able to continue driving as the case had been under appeal.

At the district court, Judge King dismissed an accompanying charge against Mr McNamara that he had obstructed a garda in the course of his duties on the same date outside his home after being pursued by a garda car to his home. Mr McNamara told the district court he was "utterly and completely shocked" when he was pepper sprayed by a garda outside his home in December 2016.

In relation to the appeal against the dangerous driving charge, he told the court that it was "incorrect" to state that his driving was dangerous on the night.

He said: "I have driven on that road since I was 17 and I don't think you could take those bends at more than 50kmh."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News