Driver claimed he was kidnapped by gardaí, court told
Man alleged officer ‘stole’ his vehicle after he was stopped for driving without a seatbelt
A man who claimed he’d been kidnapped by gardaí after driving without a seatbelt was among the cases at Carrick-on-Suir District Court on Thursday. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times
A donation to the poor box for speeding and a man who claimed he’d been kidnapped by gardaí after driving without a seatbelt were among cases at Carrick-on-Suir District Court on Thursday.
There were 55 cases listed before Judge Terence Finn, in the damp Tipperary courthouse.
While the judge held a call-over of the list with solicitors and gardaí in his chambers, to ascertain adjournments, the gathered crowd waited, fidgeting.
They occasionally left, to talk outside or smoke, or to make use of the 25-cent public toilet on the street, there being no facilities in the courthouse.
When hearings began, they filed back in noisily. Among them was a man who had exacerbated his difficulties by refusing to give gardaí his name and address when pulled over last year.
Sgt Alan Kissane said he spotted David Murphy, of Coolfin Grove, Portlaw, Co Waterford, on September 2nd on Queen Street in Clonmel, driving without his seat belt.
He stopped him and asked for his licence, but he didn’t have it. He refused to give his name and address.
He “tensed up his body” and had to be handcuffed, Sgt Kissane said, reading steadily from his notebook.
“Then he alleged he’d been kidnapped.”
The car had a tax disc three months out of date, so the officer told Murphy he would be seizing it.
“He then alleged I’d stolen his vehicle,” said Sgt Kissane.
Murphy was taken to Tramore Garda Station, where “it had to be explained to him” why he needed to provide his name and address before he could be released.
He subsequently wrote a letter to gardaí explaining his behaviour.The judge was shown a copy of the letter.
Throughout the evidence, Murphy stood sheepishly on the courtroom floor, his hands behind his back.
Asked by the judge why he hadn’t been wearing a seat belt, he mentioned going straight from work to training children at soccer and difficulties caused when one of the mothers had not picked up a child.
The judge fined him €200 for not wearing a seat belt and €100 for no tax disc. He said he took into account the offence of refusing to give his name to gardaí.
He said he issued a fixed-penalty notice but it was never paid.
Speaking from the floor of the court, Ms O’Neill said she was sorry and should not have been speeding, but didn’t get the penalty notice.
She agreed she’d been living at the same address for the last 12 years, with her husband and six children.
The judge asked if she had inquired whether any of them took the post and neglected to give it to her. She said they wouldn’t. The judge believed her.
“I’m going to invite you to make a contribution to the poor box of €150; do you wish to offer that to the court?” Ms O’Neill said she did.
The judge gave her until April 7th to pay.
But the poor box was not extended for Giacomo Perozzi, a restaurateur with an address at Town Park, Cahir, Co Tipperary.
He was not present as he was on a four-week holiday to Italy, the court heard, but was pleading guilty.
His tax disc was over a year old when he was stopped by gardaí in July 2015, but his car was not seized because he said he was “on hard times”.
The judge said it had been hard times then, but was good times now, since he’d managed a trip to Italy.
Perozzi’s lawyer said he was staying with family.
“It’s unlikely he swam there,” the judge said, adjourning the case to April.