Charges struck out as State charged woman as car owner

A Mountrath woman convicted of allowing her uninsured friend to drive her car which was subsequently involved in an accident successfully appealed the conviction at the recent circuit court, as the State had charged her with being the owner of the car when in fact the registered owner was her mother.

A Mountrath woman convicted of allowing her uninsured friend to drive her car which was subsequently involved in an accident successfully appealed the conviction at the recent circuit court, as the State had charged her with being the owner of the car when in fact the registered owner was her mother.

Aedin Doran, Clonin, Mountrath, was fined €200 at the district court last June and disqualified from driving for two years, after being convicted of no insurance (owner).

At the recent circuit court, Garda Michael Kenneally gave evidence that he arrived at the scene of a two vehicle collision at Dysartbeg, Mountrath, on July 31, 2012. He spoke to Doran, who was the only person remaining at the scene, and she identified herself as the driver of one of the vehicles.

A subsequent investigation established that Doran was not the driver, and had been in fact a passenger in the car. Doran had allowed her 16-year-old friend to drive, knowing she was not insured.

On August 29 that year, a voluntary statement was made by the appellant’s mother, Ms Breda Doran, who told the gardaí she was the registered owner of the car.

Garda Kenneally also revealed that a circuit court case had been brought against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision.

In relation to this, barrister for Doran, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said that there had been three young men in the other vehicle. She said the driver had been disqualified at the time and shouldn’t have been driving, while there was a rear seat passenger who had been unrestrained in the back. Ms Fitzpatrick added that it was the driving of the other vehicle that had contributed to the accident.

Garda Kenneally concurred, explaining that the rear seat passenger suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital by the other two men in another vehicle.

“Although Aedin Doran allowed her friend to drive, it wasn’t directly her actions that contributed to the accident,” said the garda.

He said that as Doran’s vehicle was turning right the other vehicle, a van, was driving on the wrong side of the road. The van collided with a traffic island and flipped over several times.

Ms Breda Doran took the witness box to tell the court she was the registered owner of the car.

“It was insured in my name and Aedin was the named driver; we would call it her car,” explained Ms Doran.

Ms Fitzpatrick asked the circuit court to strike out the summons against her client, as the State had chosen to charge Doran with being the owner of the car instead of the user.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan accepted that Ms Breda Doran was the registered owner and it was only in common speech that the vehicle was referred to as her daughter’s. The judge struck out the charges.