We have plenty of speeding drivers of our own in the Waterford/Kilkenny Garda Division but there were two speeding cases before the courts last week that were quite interesting for a number of reasons.
The first case was at Wicklow Circuit Court in which a local motorist was appealing a District Court conviction for dangerous driving that also earned him a disqualification. Evidence was given by Garda Peter McAteer that he was on duty in an unmarked patrol car on the Arklow Bypass at 10.30pm last September. He was driving at the legal speed limit of 100 kph when he was passed out by a man in a BMW that reached a speed of 191 kph (about 120 mph) before he was pulled in. The man said he was in a hurry to get back to Dublin and didn’t think he was going so fast.
However, defence Counsel, David Tarrant, argued that nobody had been put in any direct, immediate or serious danger as a result of his client’s behaviour. He was driving a top of the range car on a good road in excellent conditions. Judge Michael O’Shea said he would not have a problem with a charge of careless driving but he considered that the defendant’s driving fell short of being dangerous and, consequently, he allowed the appeal.
The other case was heard at New Ross District Court where a motorcyclist appeared charged with driving at 220 kph (about 130 mph). Garda Gary Rayner told the court he was operating a speed-check near Slieverue on August 2nd. when the defendant passed him by at 157 kph.. He got into the patrol car and gave chase but, even when he reached a speed of 220 kph, he couldn’t catch the motorcyclist so he radioed ahead to have a check-point set up to stop the defendant.
Defence solicitor Anne Marie O’Donnell said the client was 20 years old and didn’t have a motorbike anymore. He was now driving a small car with a one-litre engine and would lose his job as an apprentice if his driving licence was taken away. Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla imposed a fine of €500 but did not disqualify the young man.
I’m glad both motorists were given a chance by the courts but, when they look back at their escapades, they may well come to the conclusion that they were both fortunate that they were still in one piece and able to appear in court. Speed kills, kills, kills.