Senator Ivor Callely was fined and will get four penalty points Tom Burke
IVOR Callely has been hit by the curse of the mobile phone for a second time.
The independent senator and former Fianna Fail TD was fined €60 at Dublin District Court yesterday for holding a mobile phone while driving his Jaguar car. He will also pick up four penalty points for the offence.
Mr Callely (52) denied the offence in court but a judge accepted the garda's evidence that he was holding a mobile phone while behind the wheel.
The sanction for those caught using a mobile phone in a car is usually two penalty points. However, it can be increased for those who contest the charge.
Mr Callely was previously embroiled in another legal battle when he was suspended from the Seanad following allegations that he used invoices from a company that ceased trading years earlier to claim expenses for almost €3,000 worth of mobile phones and car kits.
He appeared in court yesterday where he denied holding a mobile phone while driving his Jaguar car at Ballybough Road, in Dublin's north inner city, last October 11.
Traffic Garda Keith Daly told the court that he observed Mr Callely driving his blue Jaguar "holding a mobile phone to his right ear".
Garda Daly said he performed a U-turn and pulled Mr Callely over at Summerhill Parade. He told Judge James Paul McDonnell that at this stage Mr Callely was talking into a hands-free device but the phone he had seen him using was lying on a passenger seat.
Mr Callely's solicitor put it to Garda Daly that the phone on the passenger seat was broken and not the one Mr Callely had been using.
Garda Daly replied that he did not have to prove that the phone was in use but that Mr Callely had been holding it while he was driving, which he said he observed.
The defence submitted that Mr Callely had not received a fixed penalty notice but the garda told the judge that he had an official record of it being sent.
In evidence, Mr Callely told the court he had been talking into a 'Parrot' hands-free device and he accepted that he had two mobile phones in the car.
In relation to the fixed penalty notice, he said he did not keep a log of post coming to his house.
Mr Callely agreed with his solicitor that it would have been "ridiculous" not to have dealt with the fixed penalty notice "rather than have the notoriety of dealing with this in court".
Mr Callely also said he would have paid the penalty if he had received the notice.
The judge said it was accepted by the prosecution and the defence that there were two mobile phones in Mr Callely's car and he was speaking into a device when he was stopped.
The judge accepted the garda's evidence that the senator was holding a mobile phone while driving. He fined Mr Callely €60 which must be paid within seven days or else he could be jailed for five days in default.