A MOYROSS man who was acquitted of endangering the lives of two gardai with his horse and sulky has agreed to apply for a licence to keep his horse within the city limits.
Michael Stanners, aged 32, of Pineview Gardens pleaded not guilty to “recklessly or intentionally” endangering Garda John Neilon and Garda Lisa Griffin during an incident on June 27, 2013.
During a contested hearing, Limerick District Court was told the two gardai were operating a checkpoint at Cliona Park as part of “Operation Cliona” shortly before 6pm when the defendant approached on his horse and sulky.
Garda Griffin said the defendant was “taunting” the horse as he approached the checkpoint having turned into Cliona Park from new Link Road.
“The horse was sweating, he was shouting and roaring abuse,” she told the court.
In his evidence, Garda Neilon said as Mr Stanners was approaching the checkpoint at speed, he raised his right hand and asked him to stop.
He said the defendant was driving in the middle of the road and that he failed to stop forcing him to jump out of the way of the horse and sulky.
“If I held my position on the road, I would have been hit,” he said.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told Mr Stanners stopped the horse and sulky a short distance away and following “an exchange of words” with Garda Neilon, continued into Ballynanty before returning to the area again a short time later.
Judge O’Kelly was told that while CCTV footage shows the defendant returning to Cliona Park, the initial incident was not caught on camera.
Being cross examined by solicitor Sarah Ryan, Garda Neilon agreed Mr Stanners is an “experienced horseman” and that he had stopped - albeit further up the road.
Dismissing the charge, Judge O’Kelly said he did not believe a charge of endangerment was warranted.
He added that if Mr Stanners had been prosecuted for failing to stop, he would have convicted him.
The judge said the actions of the defendant on the day were appalling: “Why shouldn’t he stop like any other person?” he asked.
After being informed by Ms Ryan that her client has never applied to Limerick City and County Council for a horse licence because he believes he will be refused the judge agreed to adjourn the case to December to allow him to apply for a licence
“If he is bona fide, why shouldn’t he get a licence,” he commented adding: “He cannot just say I won’t apply”.
The case was adjourned to December 3, next.