Portlaoise man drove off from gardaí forcing cars to pull in

Portlaoise man drove off from gardaí forcing cars to pull in

A Portlaoise man who drove off in a careless manner from a garda checkpoint forcing other cars to take evasive action “misinterpreted” the gardaí’s directions and thought he was free to leave, the district court was told.

Before last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court was Ciaran Williamson (27), with an address at Highfield Meadows, Portlaoise.

He was initially charged with dangerous driving, but this was reduced to careless driving by agreement with the State and the new charge was accepted by Judge Fiona Lydon.

Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on April 3 this year, at 8.30pm at the Mountrath Road in Portlaoise, the accused was stopped at a garda checkpoint and produced his passport as ID.

He was asked to pull in for a search, but drove off overtaking four vehicles forcing vehicles to pull in.

Sgt Kirby said there were people in the area out walking at the time, but no one was put in danger or injured and no written complaints were made to the gardaí.

The accused had 14 previous convictions, including road traffic matters.

Defence, Ms Aonghus McCarthy said his client needed his licence to travel to work as he is the sole breadwinner in the house supporting two children.

On the day, he was stopped by the gardaí and asked for his licence and insurance, which were in order, but when he was told to pull in he thought he was done and so drove off.

Mr McCarthy said his client wished to apologise for misinterpreting the gardaí’s directions at the time.

No injuries were caused and the offence was at the lower end of the scale, said defence.

The accused had never been convicted of dangerous driving and this incident was out of character for him as he is usually a safe driver, said Mr McCarthy.

Defence asked the court to use its discretion and allow the accused to keep his licence.

The accused was convicted and fined €500 by Judge Fiona Lydon.