Driving ban and fine for Waterford motorist who drove through Garda checkpoint

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A 41-year-old Waterford motorist has received a six month driving ban for driving through a late night garda checkpoint in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary.

Judge John King imposed the driving licence disqualification along with a €400 fine on Robin Lacey of Apartment 8, Block A, Mount Suir Manor, Gracedieu, Waterford, who pleaded guilty to careless driving at O'Mahony Avenue in Carrick-on-Suir on July 30, 2016.

Gda. Karen Delaney told the court she was conducting a traffic checkpoint on the N24 at the junction of O'Mahony Avenue and Greystone Street in Carrick-on-Suir at 2.50am on this date when she noticed a vehicle driving from the direction of Clonmel.

She was holding a lit torch and wearing a high visibility vest. She extended her arm to indicate to the vehicle to stop but it drove through the checkpoint. She had to step to the side to avoid it.

Following a very short pursuit of the vehicle it stopped at John Street. The driver, Robin Lacey, told her he first thought he was being signalled through the checkpoint.

The court heard that Lacey had ten previous convictions, four of which were for road traffic offences.

Defence solicitor Eamonn Hayes explained it was dark and his client thought he was approaching an accident scene and construed Gda. Delaney's actions as waving him through. There was also another garda, whom he believed directed him through.

A very short interval after driving through the checkpoint, he noticed a garda vehicle was following him and he stopped. His first utterance to the garda was that he had been directed through the checkpoint.

Judge King asked Gda. Delaney if she believed this was a possible interpretation of what happened and she replied "no".

Judge John King said under any circumstances if someone is in your way you don't drive at them to make them move out of your way. That is what happened here. The garda had to actually remove herself from the path of the defendant's car.

"I am afraid there has to be some form of disqualification," he concluded as he imposed the six month ban. He agreed to Mr Hayes' request to fix recognisance in the event of appeal.