A Dublin man who allegedly applied for a driving licence in the name of his cousin, a professional football player in England, was last week warned by Judge Catherine Staines he’d be in a better position if he told the district court the truth.
At last week’s Portlaoise District Court, Graham Armstrong, of 33 Wycham Point, Wycham Way, Ballinteer, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving without a licence or insurance, at Ballydavis, Portlaoise, on October 23, 2012.
He also claimed under oath that he had never seen the arresting officer before, and denied being at that location on that date.
Despite this, Judge Staines suggested Armstrong may be committing perjury in court and found him guilty of the offences.
Garda Alan Harris told the court that the defendant had applied for a driving licence in the name of Paul Armstrong, his cousin who is a footballer in England. Armstrong denied this in the witness box.
“I’ve never registered for a licence in his name, I’ve explained this to the garda already,” he said.
“You’re saying someone else applied for a licence and got your photo?” asked Judge Staines.
“Yeah,” replied Armstrong.
“The garda says he stopped you,” said Judge Staines.
“I’ve never seen this garda before,” replied Armstrong.
Armstrong also claimed that the car in question was his sister’s vehicle which had been stolen at the time.
In cross-examination, Inspector Declan Dunne asked him was his sister in court. Armstrong replied she was not.
He went on to say that he can drive but was banned from driving at the time, and he denied being at Ballydavis on the day.
Garda Harris, however, told the court that: “I recognised him straight away (today).”
“Do you have any brothers?” asked the judge.
“No, two sisters,” replied Armstrong.
Judge Staines ruled that she was satisfied by Garda Harris’ evidence, and the garda could identify Armstrong.
Garda Harris said that Armstrong had 30 previous convictions, including driving without insurance.
Judge Staines then offered Armstrong legal representation, which he accepted, and solicitor Declan Breen was appointed. The judge told defence: “He’d be in a better position if he told the truth.”
After conferring with his client, Mr Breen said “the case could benefit from some time” and he asked Judge Staines to adjourn it for three weeks.
“For what purpose?” asked the judge.
“There are very entrenched issues,” replied Mr Breen. “I need to go through it in serious depth.”
The matter was put back to March 27, with Judge Staines suggesting Armstrong’s sister should be summonsed to court too.