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Cursing cleric wins driving ban appeal case

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Rev Bob Hanna

Rev Bob Hanna

Rev Bob Hanna

A judge has overturned a driving ban against a speeding and foul-mouthed cleric, but told him "even God would tell you slow down".

Church of Ireland rector Canon Bob Hanna (68) yesterday successfully appealed a six-month driving ban.

In the district court last month, Judge Patrick Durcan banned Canon Hanna from driving after describing his conduct as "despicable" when he was stopped by Garda Lisa McDonagh on April 17 last year. He was doing 135km in a 100km zone at Bunratty on the main dual-carriageway linking Ennis to Limerick.

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, State solicitor, Martin Linnane said Canon Hanna "was extremely abusive and aggressive in his behaviour towards Garda McDonagh".

"He shouted at Garda McDonagh: 'I'm late for a communion service at one o'clock. What are you doing? What are you stopping me for?'," said Mr Linnane.

"He then stated 'Chase me if you want, I'm leaving'. Canon Hanna was then informed of his speed and he said 'I don't give a f**k. I'm late. It is religious week. I hope that you are victimising everyone else'."

The rector had four previous motoring convictions and had been fined €100 for speeding in January 2014.

In evidence, Canon Hanna - who arrived at court by bicycle yesterday - told Judge Tom O'Donnell: "I feel a little hard done by this."

Canon Hanna admitted his language "wasn't temperate" and was "impolite and ungracious to a lady".

He said: "I was under huge stress in Holy Week.

" didn't give the lady garda much time, but I gave her all the information that she needed. I just felt at the time that she wasn't understanding of my position."

He later sent a letter of apology to Garda McDonagh.

Judge O'Donnell said he was satisfied to remove the disqualification "given the abject apology and letter given to the garda".

He reduced the fine from €500 to €250 and told Canon Hanna "even God would tell you slow down on that particular road".

Irish Independent