A teenager has been warned he must complete the prosocial driver’s course if he stands any chance of keeping his licence, a Judge has warned.

Owen Kelly, 18, of Lower Illies, Buncrana, was charged with dangerous driving at the Cockhill Road on March 18, last, when he appeared before Buncrana District Court.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, a conviction for which would lead to an automatic driving ban, in Buncrana Court last Thursday.

However, after hearing evidence Judge Paul Kelly said he would give Kelly an opportunity to keep his licence by completing the prosocial drivers course before the next District Court sitting.

Garda Inspector Seamus McGonigle told the court that Gardaí were on routine patrol in Buncrana Town on St. Patrick’s Night when they saw a red Skoda car driving at speed.

He said there were a large number of people and pedestrians in the town for St. Patrick’s Night so the Gardaí followed the car onto the Cockhill Road.

“The guards failed to indicate Mr. Kelly’s speed but they say that they were travelling at 100km per hour in the 50km per hour zone and they failed to keep up with him,” Insp. McGonigle told the court.

However when Mr. Kelly got stuck behind traffic further up the Cockhill Road the Gardaí were able to stop him.

“He said he was unaware of the speed limit in that area and could not give a reason for his speed,” the Garda Inspector said.

Defence solicitor Frank Dorrian said there was no element of a chase involved as his young client was unaware the guards were behind him.

“He did accelerate on the Cockhill Road as the road was clear but he didn’t try to overtake anyone,” Mr. Dorrian said.

“He is very young and I know the Sergeant was worried that there were a lot of people about on St. Patrick’s Night but he wasn’t trying to show off or anything.”

Mr. Dorrian said Kelly was ‘very polite to the Gardaí’ and admitted he didn’t know that he was driving in a 50km per hour zone.

The defence solicitor said his client had previously worked on a farm in rural Australia and hoped to return as soon as possible as there are no employment opportunities for him in Inishowen.

Judge Kelly told the court that there is a prosocial driving course this month in Donegal Town and if Mr. Kelly completed this, and paid €200 towards the cost of the course he would reduce the charge from dangerous to careless driving and allow the Buncrana man to keep his licence.

He remanded the case until June 13, excusing the Buncrana man on the next occasion if he had returned to Australia, on the basis that he completed the prosocial course.


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