Tenant of Limerick flat wins appeal in ‘ridiculous’ litter case

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A TENANT in a city centre flat who was prosecuted for littering offences was successful in his appeal against his conviction.

A TENANT in a city centre flat who was prosecuted for littering offences was successful in his appeal against his conviction.

Gerard Damato, who previously lived at a flat on Little Glentworth Street was prosecuted by Limerick City Council after items belonging to him were found in a number of black bags which were found dumped at Little Glentworth Street on March 21, 2011.

Judge Carroll Moran was told six black bags were found on the side of the street by an environmental inspector during a routine patrol of the area, which is located near Colbert Station.

Limerick Circuit Court was told that a social welfare slip and a medicine box which were both in Mr Damato’s name were found in one of the bags upon detailed inspection.

Judge Moran was told that a €150 on-the-spot fine was subsequently issued but that it was not paid by the defendant.

The judge expressed his dissatiscation when a copy of the fixed penalty notice was produced as evidence in court.

“Where does it say that €150 has to be paid,” he asked.

The judge also noted that the local authority did not send a cover letter with the fine which was posted to Mr Damata at his then address.

In his evidence the defendant denied dumping the rubbish, which had been found on the street.

He said when he received the fine, he gave it to his landlord who told him he would “take care of it”.

Mr Damato agreed the items found in the black bag were his but he insisted he had dumped them in a rubbish bin, which he shared with the resident of another flat in the same building.

“I didn’t throw it (the rubbish) down there. Somebody else took it from the bin and dumped it,” he said adding that he beleved the prosecution against him was ridiculous. “I’ve never been in court in my life,” he said.

Judge Moran said he had a “reasonable doubt” in the case and he granted the appeal.