No criminal record for detective guilty of careless driving

By Andrew Phelan

A GARDA who admitted carelessly driving an official patrol car that crashed into another vehicle on the M50 has been left without a criminal record.

Detective Garda Kevin Keys, who is attached to Mountjoy Station, had the case against him struck out at an appeals court when he paid €1,500 to charity over the incident that happened five years ago.

In 2012 at Dublin District Court, he had been found guilty of dangerous driving, was fined €500 and given a two-year road ban.

He brought an appeal to the Circuit Court and in 2013, Judge Terence O'Sullivan set aside the conviction.

However, that decision was overturned at the High Court and when the case came back before Judge O'Sullivan, Det Gda Keys admitted the lesser charge of careless driving instead.

GSOC investigating officer Paul Hanna told the court a road traffic collision occurred in the south-bound carriageway on the M50 motorway on February 6, 2010, at 7.50pm.

The crash was between a red Ford Mondeo driven by Garda Keys and a Hyundai Santa Fe jeep driven by another man.

The Mondeo was an unmarked garda vehicle from Mountjoy Station, where the defendant was stationed at the time.

Both cars were extensively damaged and the court heard Det Gda Keys had lost control of his car and collided with the jeep.

Both vehicles were damaged beyond repair and emergency vehicles attended the scene.

Det Gda Keys suffered six fractured ribs, a punctured lung and soft tissue damage.

Due to the circumstances, the case was referred to GSOC. Det Gda Keys was interviewed and admitted being in the pub prior to taking the vehicle. He had been entitled to take it. He could not recall the collision.

Det Gda Keys had been a member of the gardai for 22 years with a very good reputation and had no previous convictions of any kind, his solicitor Dara Robinson said.

Judge O'Sullivan noted that the defendant had been cited for bravery.

The District Court had heard the brakes in the Mondeo had been faulty.

Det Gda Keys was highly regarded by his peers, had good prospects and it had been an isolated incident.

State Solicitor Tom Conlon accepted that the matter had gone on for a long time and had been vociferously defended in the District Court.