Comic spared conviction over unpaid train fare
Comedian Katherine Lynch played the role of her own defence lawyer in court yesterday when she was ordered to donate €100 to charity for travelling on a train without a ticket.
The host of RTÉ’s Katherine Lynch’s Big Fat Breakfast Show appeared at Dublin District Court to face prosecution for fare evasion on November 10th last year. She was spared a conviction, fine and a possible two-day jail term after she complied with an order by Judge John Lindsay to donate the cash to Temple Street hospital.
Lynch said she was humiliated and did not want anyone to think she was dodging a fare. But minutes later she cheered “Free at last!” as she left court.
Lynch, who denied she had been trying to evade buying a €32 ticket, told the judge: “I have to say the first I heard of being in court is when I got a phone call from a journalist yesterday. I got on a train in Connolly thinking I could buy a ticket there.”
The comic claimed she had been late for a gig. “The guy was very rude to me. CIÉ said they would get back to me.” However, prosecuting counsel Mairéad Carey told the judge that was disputed.
Iarnród Éireann inspector Eric Quinn got on the Dublin-to-Sligo train at Maynooth to check tickets. Lynch told him she had been running late and claimed she had been told she could buy a ticket on the train.
At first she refused to give her name and said she did not have any ID. Mr Quinn told her he would have to get the Gardaí involved and she then told him who she was and gave two addresses, one in France and also at RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
She was issued with a fine of €100, which she did not pay. Mr Quinn denied being rude and said everyone on the train could hear her talking loudly before she moved to another carriage.
Lynch rang another inspector, Eugene O’Carroll, who deals with penalty appeals and claimed that an Iarnród Éireann employee let her past the barriers at Connolly Station.
But Mr O’Carroll said CCTV footage had been checked. “We did not observe her come through the barriers on that day at all.” He agreed with Ms Carey that it was possible to get on the train without passing through the barriers by coming from a Dart platform in the station.