A man who called two gardai “British bastards” and threatened to shoot them has been fined €250 for dangerous driving and banned for two years.
Myles Gillespie, Cois Cladaigh appeared at Dungloe District Court.
When asked why he called gardai such names, the defendant, he claimed it was the gardai who had made the alleged nationality remark to himself.
Gillespie made the remarks in the back of a garda squad car that was bringing him to Milford Garda Station.
He had just been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, the court heard.
The defendant originally faced four charges of dangerous driving in Bunbeg on April 26 last year but was convicted on only one of them by Judge Paul Kelly.
A further charge of refusing to give a breath sample in Milford Garda station on the same date was dismissed after legal argument over the manner of the defendant’s arrest from the defendant’s solicitor Ms Jacqui Sharkey.
A charge of failing to produce insurance was taken into consideration and a charge of having no insurance was struck out.
Garda Eamon McGinley told the court he saw the defendant in his vehicle outside a local diner at Magheraclogher, Bunbeg at 4am on April 26.
The defendant took off in his white Ford Escort van and drove towards Bunbeg.
He crossed the white line to the opposite side of the carriageway on four occasions, the court heard.
The defendant took a sharp left at Bunbeg Crossroads with no indicators.
Garda McGinley believed the driving to be dangerous and put on the blue lights.
The defendant failed to stop and drove about 400 metres into a private dwelling at Cois Cladaigh.
Garda McGinley got out of the patrol car, opened the door of the defendant’s vehicle and asked for his licence and he was accompanied by Garda Patrick Kelly.
Myles Gillespie told the gardai “You are on private property and you will do nothing to me.”
Garda McGinley said he knew the man as Myles Gillespie and while speaking to him, he got a strong smell of drink, the defendant’s eyes were bloodshot and glazed and the garda formed an opinion and arrest the defendant on suspicion of drunk driving at 4.15 am.
The defendant got so aggressive that he had to be handcuffed in the patrol car for his own safety and the safety of the officers, the court heard.
He was verbally abusive to the gardai en route to Milford Garda Station, and arrived at 5.22 am.
The defendant refused to give a breath sample at 6.54 am and he was brought back to his home in Cois Cladaigh and asked to produce his insurance and licence.
The defendant said the documents were in the UK and he would need time to produce the documents.
Garda McGinley said on checking the details with the PSNI, the defendant was not insured to drive the vehicle and it was not registered in his name. The vehicle was then seized.
Defence solicitor Jacqui Sharkey said her client would say the gardai had driven off and then parked outside the Seaview Hotel.
When the solicitor asked why the garda wanted to check on the defendant initially, the latter said it was 4 am in the morning.
The garda said he and his colleague then went on the curtilage of the defendant’s property to investigate the dangerous driving that had taken place.
The court heard the defendant would deny that he crossed any line or that he would make the alleged profane remark about “Irish Guards.”
Garda Jonathan Sweeney, who was the member in charge at Milford Garda Station, told the court the defendant refused to sign the custody record when he was charged.
The defendant was released from custody at 7.04 am but admitted to gardai that he had been drinking three hours previously, the court heard.
The defendant denied this assertion.
The defendant, who had been placed in a cell, banged the door and shouted abuse at 6.55 am just before his release, the court heard.
Garda Colin Talbot told the court that he asked Myles Gillespie for two breath samples at 5.43 am for the evidenzer, and asked him if he had any medical reason for not complying.
The defendant replied “I am not being awkward I know my rights.
“I am not blowing into that machine and I was not driving on a public road when I was stopped.
“If I do admit it, I am a clown and I am not a clown and I was pulled in on my territory.”
The defendant added that the gardai had no search warrant.
Ms Sharkey said the defendant did not remember if the garda had asked him if he had a medical reason stopping him from giving the breath samples.
Ms Sharkey then raised legal submissions about the validity of the arrest of the defendant which were accepted as a “narrow point” by Judge Paul Kelly and the refusal charge was dismissed.
But the judge added that the defendant still had a case to answer on the dangerous driving and related charges.
Ms Sharkey said her client had a driver’s licence in court
Myles Gillespie told the court he was sitting in his vehicle making a phone call and was not eating a takeaway as previously suggested as there were no such places open at that time of the morning.
He denied pulling off first.
The court heard he had a bad experience with gardai on a previous occasion.
The defendant denied that he had crossed any white line and there were no windows in the back of his van so he could not see any blue flashing lights behind him.
He wondered if he was driving so dangerously then why did it take the gardai so long to stop him.
Inspector Seamus McGonigle put it to the defendant that he had admitted that he had been drinking and this was rejected by the defendant.
When the defendant was asked why he called the gardai “British bastards”, he said it was the gardai who had verbally abused him.
The defendant denied that he had driven for 400 metres and had refused to stop for the officers.
The Inspector asked the defendant if all of the gardai were incorrect in their evidence.
Judge Paul Kelly said from the defendant’s comments on the night it was clear the defendant had a “particular view of the gardai” and that view was furthered on that night.
The judge said he was 100 per cent certain that the manner of the defendant’s driving was as described by the gardai.
The judge said there were four instances of dangerous driving, but he was going to convict the defendant on one charge.
The court heard the defendant had previous relevant convictions in 2012 and 2002.
Defence solicitor Jacqui Sharkey said some of them were 17 years old and the defendant had not come to any garda attention in many years.
The defendant looked after his mother who was almost blind, and the loss of his licence would be severe.
Leave to appeal to the circuit court was set in the defendant’s bond of E400.