A JUDGE has commended prominent solicitor John Devane for reporting an incident of alleged littering to Limerick City Council.
However, Judge Gerald Keyes dismissed the prosecution arising from Mr Devane’s complaint saying he had a reasonable doubt.
During a District Court Appeal, Mr Devane said he was driving on O’Connell Street at around 3pm on February 11, 2013 when he saw a cigarette butt being “flicked out the window” of the car in front of him.
Mr Devane said the butt bounced off the bonnet of his Mercedes and struck his windscreen.
He said he recognised the driver of the Fiat Punto as Tina Carberry and he told the court he was certain she was in the car on her own.
The witness told solicitor Pat McHugh, representing the local authority, he immediately pulled in and noted the details of the vehicle before ringing the Litter Line and leaving a message.
Environmental inspector Michael Walsh said he later identified Ms Carberry as the registered-owner of the Punto and issued her a fine, which was not paid.
In her evidence, Ms Carberry, who has an address in Cappawhite, County Tipperary said she was unaware of the original court date and first learned of her conviction when she read a report in this newspaper.
She said around the time she smoked e-cigarettes, which she insisted she would not have discarded in the manner outlined by Mr Devane.
“I’m 100% certain I did not throw it out the window, he made a mistake - it wasn’t me,” she said adding that a friend of hers was with her in the car at the time of the alleged offence.
Judge Keyes said there was a “complete conflict in the evidence” and that he had to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt as to Ms Carberry’s guilt.
He said Mr Devane had “quite correctly” reported what he had witnessed and accepted “he saw what he saw”.
However he said there was a doubt in the case and he dismissed the charge.