Santa Claus presents case for the defence in a Limerick court

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Kilmallock Court
IT MAY be Halloween time but Santa Claus came to the rescue of one defendant in Kilmallock Court.

IT MAY be Halloween time but Santa Claus came to the rescue of one defendant in Kilmallock Court.

The reason given for Jimmy Browne, aged 35, of Old Road, Ballywire, Kilross leaving the scene of a car accident was because he was working at the Lough Gur Santa Experience that day.

Judge Marie Keane dismissed the hit-and-run charge against Mr Browne.

Sergeant Michelle Leahy said on December 24, 2014, Mr Browne was involved in a road accident in Kilfinane but there were no injuries caused as a result.

“He was reversing a vehicle on Main Street and collided with the rear passenger door of a car. The driver of the vehicle asked him to stay but he didn’t remain at the scene,” said Sgt Leahy.

Robin Lee, solicitor for Mr Browne, said his client was reversing on a wide part of the Main Street outside the supermarket.

“He was doing his shopping. Having driven in to the space, he was driving out.

“He looked left and right but what he didn’t take into consideration – and he should have – is there is a minor street directly behind him. The other party was exiting this street. It was a very low-impact collision,” said Mr Lee.

The solicitor said the two drivers exchanged insurance details.

“The date was Christmas Eve. He was employed at the Lough Gur Santa Experience. He was taking up security duty there.

“When he had exchanged insurance details he felt he had fulfilled his duties. He didn’t consciously drive off. He wasn’t aware that the gardai had been sent for,” said Mr Lee.

Judge Marie Keane said Mr Browne was very fortunate he sought legal advice, which he didn’t have at the beginning of the court.

“You were facing a four-year disqualification. You are obliged to remain at the scene of an accident. I accept you didn’t think you had to stay but it is a very serious matter,” said Judge Keane.

She fined Mr Browne €250 for careless driving and €100 for failing to produce a driving licence.

The hit and run charge was dismissed.