Limerick van driver claimed he was using phone’s sat-nav system

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The man was prosecuted before Newcastle West Court

The man was prosecuted before Newcastle West Court

A MOTORIST who claimed he was using the sat-nav function on his mobile phone was fined €300 after he was convicted of holding the phone while driving.

Kenneth Trinder of Leahies Road, Foynes, was prosecuted before Newcastle West Court in relation to an incident which happened in Newcastle West on December 14, 2017.

In his evidence, Garda Enda Moroney said he was parked in a marked patrol car when he observed the defendant holding a phone in his left hand while driving his Ford Transit Van around 9.45am.

He said he stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver after he pulled in at the side of the road. He addd that a Fixed Charged Penalty Notice which was issued was never paid.

Mr Trinder, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, told his solicitor Enda O’Connor that he was on the way to Galway at the time and was using the sat-nav function on the device when he was stopped by Garda Moroney.

“I wasn’t holding the phone, it was in the cradle attached to the windscreen,” he said insisting he was not holding it or using it while driving as alleged by gardai.

“I was touching the phone to put directions into the sat-nav, I wasn’t holding it,” he told the court.

Being cross-examined by Inspector Alan Cullen, the defendant agreed he had his phone in his hand when he was approached by Garda O’Connor after he pulled in.

“I took the phone out (of the cradle) to show him I wasn’t using it to make calls or for texts,” he said adding the phone was in his left hand as the garda had approached the passenger side of the van after he stopped.

Addressing the court, Insp Cullen said the evidence of Garda O’Connor was “very clear” and he submitted there was no doubt that Mr Trinder was holding a phone as outlined.

Having considered the evidence before him, Judge Flann Brennan said he “didn’t believe a word” of what Mr Trinder had said and that he was satisfied the State had proven its case.

“I am satisfied he is guilty,” he said as he formally convicted him of the charge before the court.

After being informed that Mr Trinder is working, the judge imposed a €300 fine, giving him six months to pay.

While not a matter for the court, the defendant will also receive five penalty points on his driving licence as a consequence of his conviction.

Judge Brennan fixed recognisance in the event of an appeal.