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27 Sept 2022

Teen drove towards oncoming traffic

Court - Smashed garda patrol car outside Portlaoise courthouse

A teenager who drove towards oncoming traffic while being pursued by gardai avoided a conviction at Portlaoise District Court. 

Conor Barry, 18, of Clonad, Daingean, Co Offaly was charged with endangerment at Fairgreen, Portlaoise on April 5 last year. He was also charged with possession of a small quantity of cannabis at Portlaoise Garda Station on the same day. 

Sgt JJ Kirby said the defendant, who has no previous convictions, was followed by gardai while “narrowly avoiding oncoming vehicles” on the date in question. He said Garda Fergus Crowe was injured while effecting an arrest. 

Barrister Suzanne Dooner said the man’s mother was in court to support him. She pointed to his positive probation report and said he “does seem to have learned his lesson.” She said he was very apologetic, had engaged fully with probation services and was deemed at low risk of reoffending. Ms Dooner said her client had a job in construction earning €400 per week.   

Judge Michelle Finan told the man to gather a sum of €500 and write a “fulsome” letter of apology. She warned the defendant that “you could be barred off the road” and he could go to jail. The defendant said, “I haven’t driven since.” 

Judge Finan told the man to go get the money. “I want a letter to Garda Crowe and I want €500,” she said. “You probably weren’t going to prison on it but your insurance rates would go through the roof,” Judge Finan added. 

On receiving the  letter and €500, Judge Finan said “that is an excellent letter. Hand it over to the gardai.” She ordered that the money be handed over to Garda Crowe and marked the case facts proven while striking out the charges.

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