A young Clonmany woman, who crashed her car but has no recollection of the collision, has avoided a careless driving conviction but was fined for having no insurance.
Chanise Gill, 21, of 36 Riverside Park, Clonmany, was charged with careless driving at Rashenny on August 27, 2018.
She was also charged with driving without a licence or insurance and failing to produce her documents on the same date.
She pleaded guilty to the no insurance and licence charge when she appeared before Carndonagh District Court. However her solicitor Ray Lannon argued that there was no evidence of careless driving.
He said there was a collision at Rashenny around 8am on the morning of August 27 last, however he said there was no evidence as to what happened.
Mr. Lannon explained that Ms. Gill, who had a provisional licence at the time, was driving from Clonmany to Carn when her car went off the road and ended up in a field.
He said Ms. Gill suffered serious injuries, including a broken bone in her back and a perforated lung and only had a mild recollection of what happened.
“In her memo of interview with the gardaí she said it may have been just a dream,” said Mr. Lannon.
“There was no admission made in relation to her driving, she only has a mild recollection of the whole things and is going mostly on what people told her.”
Mr. Lannon said there could have been interfering factors.
“Gardaí found the car overturned in the field, there were no witnesses. We don’t know if any other vehicle was involved or not,” said Mr. Lannon.
“There could have been intervening factors. I submit there must be a doubt.”
Garda Inspector Denis Joyce said the car left the road on the left hand side and overturned into a field. He said the case rested on the photographs and memo of interview Ms. Gill gave the Gardaí.
He said Ms. Gill was taken by ambulance to Letterkenny Hospital following the crash and a sample was taken but unfortunately it was not analysed for an intoxicant by the doctors.
Judge Paul Kelly said the collision ‘seemed extraordinary’ in how it could have happened. However he warned Ms. Gill about driving unaccompanied on a provisional licence.
“You are not permitted to be on the road without a fully qualified driver,” said Judge Kelly.
“There is a reason for this legislation, had you had a full qualified driver with you, perhaps this might not have happened.”
Despite this Judge Kelly said under the circumstances he would strike out the careless driving charge as he didn’t believe it ‘added up’.
“The only person who suffered as a result of this collision was Chanise Gill herself,” said Judge Kelly.
“I don’t think there is any merit in adding to her woes and I don’t believe the charge would add up anyway,” he said, dismissing the careless driving charge.
In relation to the no insurance charge, Mr. Lannon said she had the car three weeks and was saving for insurance after being quoted €3,000.
He said Ms. Gill recently started her own coffee shop in Ballyliffin and was employing two people. Mr. Lannon asked Judge Kelly not to ban his client on this basis.
The District Court Judge fined Gill €200 for having no insurance and agreed not to disqualify her from driving. However, he warned her that ‘part of putting a car on the road was to ensure you had a licence and you could insure the car’.
“If you can’t afford to pay for insurance you can’t afford to be on the road,” added Judge Kelly.