08 Aug 2022

Fine of €2,500 for man who drove away from a customs checkpoint in Donegal

The man drove off after being asked to pull forward

A man charged with failing to keep a vehicle stationary at a customs checkpoint has been fined €5,000, mitigated down to €2,500.

Monday’s sitting of Donegal District Court heard that the incident occurred at Crolly on October 5, 2019. A customs officer signalled Martin McDonagh of 8 Railway Park, Donegal Town to stop at a checkpoint.

Solicitor for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Ciaran Liddy said: “The officer noticed that the rear of the car was sticking out onto the road obstructing traffic. She suggested that he pull forward.”
The defendant pulled forward as instructed but instead of stopping, he drove on. The officer noted his registration plate and wrote to the motorist. 

Mr Liddy said the officer was contacted by McDonagh who at first said he didn’t know why he had received the letter. The defendant then said that when he was being asked to move forward, he took it that he was being asked to leave.

Defence solicitor James Hayes told the court that McDonagh was pleading guilty to the offence.

“He waited five or ten mintues,” said the solicitor. “He had a carful of small children. He acknowledges that it was a very poor error or judgement. Everything was in order with the car.

“He is very apologetic for the incident.”

The court heard that the fixed fine for the offence was €5,000 which could be mitigated to a minimum of €2,500. 

“Given the circumstances and his early plea I would suggest that such a fine would be disproportionate,” said Mr Hayes.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said that regarding the fine, his hands were tied but that he would apply full mitigation, reducing the fine to €2,500.

Legal aid was granted to Hartnett Hayes Solicitors.

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