Monday 21 January 2019

Two men charged over alleged drunk boat chase along River Liffey to face trial

Ronan Stephens and Brian Stacey. Pic: Collins Courts
Ronan Stephens and Brian Stacey. Pic: Collins Courts

Tom Tuite

TWO men charged over an alleged drunken boat chase along the River Liffey will go on trial in January after a judge refused to throw out their case today.

Emergency services were alerted to an incident at about 6am on June 1 last year when a boat left its mooring at a south Dublin bank sailing club.

Following a pursuit on the Liffey, it was brought to a halt and later two Dublin men were arrested.

Brian Stacey (45) of Derry Drive, Crumlin and Ronan Stephens, 41, from Captain’s Road also in Crumlin face charges under the Maritime Safety Act and the Public Order Act in connection with the alleged boating incident.

They have pleaded not guilty and appeared again at Dublin District Court today. Judge Fiona Lydon was told a garda witness was not able to attend having been injured on duty earlier this week and she noted the defence had been put on notice.

The prosecution asked for an adjournment.

Mr Stacey’s solicitor Michael Kelleher applied for a strike out telling the court the case had been going on some time and was a great source of worry for his client. Counsel for the co-accused also asked for the proceedings to be struck out.

However, Judge Lydon refused and ordered that the trial would take place on a date in January next year.

They were charged with being under influence of alcohol and failing to stop for gardai at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club while being the operator of a boat, navigating the craft without due care and attention and endangerment of a RNLI lifeboat crew at the Shipping Lane on the River Liffey and breach of the peace.

Boat theft charges were dropped earlier after Mr Stacey’s lawyers contacted the DPP and explained he was the owner of the boat and had a receipt.

At their first court appearance last year, Garda Paul Moody said Mr Stacey “made no reply” when he was charged. He said the incident began in the early hours of June 1, 2017 and was on-going when he took up duty at 7am. Mr Stacey was arrested at 8.25 am at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club.

Garda Moody said it was alleged the incident happened at the Shipping Lane of the River Liffey at the East Link Bridge coming into Dublin city.

At the same hearing, Garda Patrick Collins had told the court that the co-defendant Ronan Stephens also “made no reply” after caution when he was charged. He was arrested at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

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