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CCTV snares teacher in row with builder

A TEACHER who struck a building site worker while driving in south Dublin called gardai and claimed the man had punched the windscreen.

Robert Dooney (48) was convicted of careless driving after a judge viewed CCTV footage that showed no evidence of the man striking his car.

Dooney, of Stillorgan Heath, had maintained the man, Hazel Brown, screamed a list of expletives in an unprovoked attack on his Toyota Corolla.

He pleaded not guilty to careless driving at Lower Rathmines Road in February, 2009. Judge Dermot Dempsey fined him €500.

Dublin District Court heard Mr Brown was working as a security guard on the John Paul construction site. He stopped traffic to let a concrete pouring truck onto the site. Dooney had stopped his car 6ft away and while Mr Brown's back was turned, he moved off. His car hit Mr Brown's hand.

Dooney made a complaint to gardai that Mr Brown had verbally abused him and punched his windscreen. He showed the garda his cracked windscreen and Mr Brown immediately denied causing the damage.

Dooney later made a statement detailing the alleged damage, saying Mr Brown had been very aggressive and had slammed his fist into the glass "with great force".

"I teach each child that it's alright to be angry but not to act on that because it's only he or she that will get into trouble."

Mr Brown denied in evidence that he struck the car and said he made sure it was stopped before he stepped into the road.

Judge Dermot Dempsey told the defendant's solicitor his account of what happened did not tally with the CCTV footage.

"I suggest you take your client out of the witness box before he digs himself further into trouble," the judge said.