A MAN who was observed by a garda sergeant doing a handbrake turn denied that he was doing the manoeuvre and claimed he couldn’t do it due to a safety feature in his sports car.
Jamie McKenna, 21, of Grange Brittas, Limerick was before Kilmallock Court charged with a number of road traffic offences at Toher Road, Doon, on June 26, 2014.
Mr McKenna was charged with no road tax, non display of disc, valid NCT disc not displayed, using a vehicle without an NCT certificate, no insurance, failure to produce an insurance certificate, dangerous driving contrary to Section 53 (1), bald left front tyre, bald right rear tyre and bald left rear tyre.
Sergeant Timothy Riordan of Bruff garda station told the court that on the date in question he was off duty and was driving in his own car in Doon within the 50km speed limit zone when he observed a motorcar in the process of trying to do a handbrake turn outside the secondary school.
Sgt Riordan said he was forced to stop his own car and said the other car was on the wrong side of the road.
The court heard that the car then took off at speed. Sgt Riordan followed the car and came upon it at Main Street, Doon.
Sgt Riordan told the court that he spoke to the driver, Mr McKenna.
Sgt Riordan observed that there was no tax or NCT cert on the vehicle and he said he also observed that there were three worn tyres on the vehicle. The court was told that the rear tyres had wire protruding.
“He could offer no excuse for his behaviour,” said Sgt Riordan.
The court heard that Mr McKenna had no previous convictions.
It was the defence’s case that when Sgt Riordan came upon Mr McKenna initially he had already made the turn and had turned into the other lane. The defence also claimed that there is enough room for a bus to turn in that section in front of the secondary school.
Sgt Riordan agreed that the road was wide enough for a truck to turn there but added that Mr McKenna was carrying out a handbrake turn. It was also the defence’s case that the car Mr McKenna was driving was a rear wheel drive and it isn’t possible to do a handbrake turn in such a car.
The court heard that Mr McKenna was cooperative with Sgt Riordan.
The court was told that Mr McKenna opened a tyre and car servicing business this year.
In his evidence Mr McKenna said his car is a sports car and the safety feature in it is the handbrake. “I was just making a turn,” he said.
Mr McKenna said he passed the NCT on July 21 with the same tyres he had on the car the day Sgt Riordan stopped him.
Sgt Riordan said that if he had been working on the day in question the vehicle would have been seized.
Judge Marian O’Leary dismissed the charge of dangerous driving. Mr McKenna was fined €120 for each of the bald rear tyres. Front bald tyre was taken into consideration. He was fined €150 for non display of NCT disc and was fined €100 for no tax. All other matters were taken into consideration.