Biker arrested after high-speed chase

A speeding motorcyclist who overtook three cars on a continuous white line, claimed he did not know he was being pursued by Gardaí.

A speeding motorcyclist who overtook three cars on a continuous white line, claimed he did not know he was being pursued by Gardaí.

The biker was eventually stopped and arrested after a high speed chase from Portlaoise to Abbeyleix.

Darragh Bourke aged 21 from Redmondstown, Clonmel, Tipperary, appeared before Judge Catherine Staines in Portlaoise District Court last Thursday April 25.

He pleaded not guilty to eight charges; six for dangerous driving, one for failing to stop for a Garda, and one for having no insurance.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly of Portlaoise Garda Station, gave evidence of the chase, which took place on the evening of September 3 last year.

“Garda Michael Esmonde attempted to stop the defendent who was on a motorcycle, he put on his blue light, and (the defendent) took off at high speed. At one point he overtook three vehicles on a continuous white line. The Gardaí radioed ahead to Abbeyleix station, where he was stopped and arrested. Documents were demanded and he failed to later produce them,” he said.

Judge Staines queried why there were six separate charges for one offence, and was told by Inspt Farrelly that they were proceeding with one charge, of careless driving.

Darragh Bourke’s defending barrister told the Judge his client was bringing the motorbike from Dublin to Tipperary for a friend, and thought his car insurance covered him to ride a motorbike.

“He genuinely did not believe the Gardaí were pursuing him. He believed they were coming after someone else. Regarding the careless driving, he is sincerely sorry,” he said.

He said Bourke was two years into a four year mechanic course in Cork IT, and had references from there and Rockwell College, and worked part-time with a mechanic.

“If he is put off the road, he may not be able to complete his studies, this would put him at a huge disadvantage for future employment in this area,” his barrister said, adding that Bourke was willing to pay €300 to the court poorbox.

Judge Staines ruled on a €300 fine for the charge of having no insurance, and €200 for careless driving, with some sharp words for the defendent.

“Having a licence is a privilege. Driving is a huge responsibility, for yourself and for other road users,” she said.