| 14.4°C Dublin

Ducie failed to pay garda fine for drive in jeep without tax

KATY French's pal Kieron Ducie had his jeep impounded and failed to pay a garda fine after being caught driving without tax.

The socialite (40) told gardai he was test-driving the vehicle, despite admitting he was driving home from Dublin Airport, with his luggage in the back.

Ducie, at whose house the model suffered a fatal overdose, appeared before Swords District Court today.

The jeep in question was impounded after gardai stopped the Co Meath man driving it through Swords last April. When issued with a fixed penalty fine, Ducie failed to pay it, a garda told the court. The businessman claimed he did not receive the notice.

Ducie, Lambertstown Manor, Kilmessan, Co Meath, is facing two charges of assaulting gardai Anthony Cagney and Karl McNamara over a separate incident at the Wright Venue in Swords last November.

The father of one came to national prominence following Katy French's death in December 2007. He brought the model to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan after Ms French collapsed at his home. She died four days later.

Judge Patrick Brady ordered Ducie, who works for his father's car dealership, to make a donation to charity after he was stopped driving without tax in the jeep incident.

Ducie claimed he was test driving the jeep, which was for sale through his father's garage, but gardai alleged he was using the vehicle for private use, not for business.

Garda Amanda King gave evidence that the businessman had just returned to Dublin from his holidays abroad when she stopped him.

Gda King said Ducie's luggage was in the back of the jeep, and he admitted to her that he had just landed at Dublin Airport.

A court heard the 2005 Dublin-registered jeep was impounded by gardai, and Ducie had to pay €195 to get it back.

Ducie gave sworn evidence before Swords District Court that he never received the fixed penalty notice in respect of the matter -- and claimed he would have paid the fine if he'd received the notice.

A judge ordered Ducie to make a donation of €350 to St Francis Hospice and said he would apply the probation act.

Ducie, of Lambertstown Manor, Kilmessan, Co Meath, admitted to driving without a valid tax disc.

The incident took place at Holywell Link Road, Swords on April 11 last year.

Gda King said she stopped Ducie's vehicle and there was no valid tax disc on the jeep.

Defence solicitor, Fiona D'Arcy, said there was a trade plate on the jeep, and Ducie, who works for his father, thought he was covered for tax, as the vehicle was for sale through his father's car dealership. The car has since been taxed.