A SENIOR member of the Garda Traffic Corps has avoided a criminal conviction for road-traffic offences after paying €3,500 to charity.
Gda Michael O'Shaughnessy, based at Henry Street garda station in Limerick, was ordered to make the contribution to the St Vincent de Paul Society after he was caught with no NCT and no tax on his car on May 9 and May 11 last year.
At Limerick District Court, Judge Eugene O'Kelly described Gda O'Shaughnessy's occupation as "a distinguishing feature" in a case that had attracted considerable attention.
Defence solicitor Dan O'Gorman told the judge that his client's home was targeted with graffiti following his last court appearance and asked that his address not be published again.
A highly experienced officer with an exemplary record, Judge O'Kelly said Gda O'Shaughnessy was a senior member of the Traffic Corps and "as such has a responsibility to enforce compliance with the very laws that he has been found in breach of".
Judge O'Kelly said he was told by Supt Dan Flavin that a court conviction would have implications for Gda O'Shaughnessy's career and while it was not the court's business to interfere with any internal garda disciplinary matter, he had taken this into account.
Judge O'Kelly accepted the financial penalty imposed was "severe if not excessive" and said it was intentionally disproportionate to the penalties other persons received.
He said Gda O'Shaughnessy had been embarrassed, humiliated and ridiculed by the incident.