'Tallafornia' star fined €2,500 for having green diesel in his BMW
A TAXI-driver, who starred in the TV3 reality series "Tallafornia", has been convicted and fined €2,500 for having green diesel in his BMW car.
Cormac Brannigan (30), known as the "Corminator", with an address at Woodbrook Court, Castleknock, Dublin was prosecuted by the Revenue Commissioners for an offence under the Finance Act which on conviction carries a fine but no jail sentence.
Today at Dublin District Court, he pleaded guilty to having marked mineral oil containing blue dye in his car's fuel tank, at Airton Road Garda pound in Tallaght, on January 10, 2011.
In an outline of the evidence, solicitor Mary Kiely, for the DPP, told Judge John O'Neill that a customs officer took a sample of fuel from Brannigan's '02-reg BMW, which was tested and found to contain marked mineral oil. A cannister containing more green diesel was found in the boot.
Brannigan, who has no prior criminal convictions, was questioned and agreed that he had put the fuel in his car, Judge O'Neill heard.
Defence counsel Donall Johnston pleaded for leniency. He said that on January 8, 2011, Brannigan was returning from a late-night fare when his car broke down and there were not petrol stations open at the time.
He called his father, a garage owner who has a Hitachi truck which uses green diesel, to come and help him.
His father arrived with a cannister of fuel and they put it in the car but at the time Brannigan was unaware that it was green diesel. The defence said that on the following day, he contacted his mechanic to arrange to have the fuel strained from his car's fuel tank.
A day later Brannigan was stopped by gardai carrying out taxi regulation checks and they found the cannister of green diesel in the boot of the BMW. His taxi was impounded and tests were carried out on the fuel.
Straight after that Brannigan brought his BMW to a garage to have the fuel removed and a letter verifying that was furnished to the judge.
The defence lawyer said Brannigan, who is now unemployed, had also brought receipts of his fuel expenses over a three-year period from 2009 to 2012, totalling €23,000, showing that this incident was "a once off".
Brannigan's car was later written-off and he is still waiting for a €1,900 pay-out from his insurance company. Counsel said Brannigan is "struggling to make a living" and a conviction could have a drastic effect on his taxi licence, his livelihood and his ability to travel. His mortgage is eight months in arrears and wants to go to the United States in January to take up a job offer.
Counsel pleaded with the judge not to mark a conviction and added that Brannigan would make a €2,500 donation to charity.
Judge O'Neill held that a conviction was mandatory and added that he was taking Brannigan's difficulties into consideration. He imposed the minimum fine of €2,500, which has to be paid within three months or else Brannigan will be jailed for five days.