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Painter banned after 'mistaken identity' plea


Nicholas Byrne. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Nicholas Byrne. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Nicholas Byrne. Photo: Caroline Quinn

A FORMER painter caught behind the wheel of a car claimed he was the victim of a case of mistaken identity, a court heard.

Nicholas Byrne (23) said he wasn't driving the car because he can't drive and has never held a driving licence.

Finding him guilty of driving without insurance, Judge Anthony Halpin said Byrne had lied to the court. He fined him €1,700 and banned him from driving for two years.



The defendant, of Sycamore Avenue, Kingswood Heights in Tallaght, was found guilty before Tallaght District Court of driving without insurance or a driving licence.

Detective Garda Padraig Mullarkey said he was on mobile patrol shortly after 9pm on July 14 last year when he noted a silver Octavia and Byrne, whom he knew, behind the wheel.

Garda Mullarkey said Byrne drove the car into a cul de sac and got out. The garda waited around the corner, and Byrne drove back around the corner a few minutes later.

Garda Mullarkey said he asked Byrne to produce his driving licence and insurance at his local garda station, but he didn't.

Byrne denied being the driver, saying it was a case of mistaken identity and Garda Mullarkey had never had any dealings with him. He also claimed garda failed to give him the formal request for his insurance, alleging Garda Mullarkey said: "Nicholas, 10 days, I'll see you."

The garda said he was certain the driver was Byrne, and he gave him the formal request.

Judge Halpin said Byrne had told lies to the court, and he accepted the garda's evidence.

Defence lawyer George Burns said Byrne, a father of two, was an unemployed painter and decorator.